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EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



'>*£r 




TACTICAL DEVELOPMENT 




AUGUST 1942-MAY 1945 




BY AUTHORITY OF 
C.G. EIGHTH AIR FORCE. 

DATE.f^,..'^ 

GOIiiBTM 

By Authority of 
<Z.Q(. 6"^ A. F. 



Eighth Air Force 

TACTICAL DEVELOPMENT 
August I9U2 - May I9U5 



Prepared "by. 

Eighth Air Force 

and 

Army Air Forces Evaluation Board 
(European Theater of Operations) 



us/f 



9 July, 19I+5 



FOREWORD 



In a Directive dated 26 November I^kk Lieutenant- 
General James H. Doolittle, then Commanding General, Eighth 
Air Force requested a report of the development of the 
Eighth Air Force for the Commanding General, Army Air Forces 
and to "be used as a "background for tactical study "by the Air 
Force Tactical School. 

This report, "Eighth Air Force - Tactical Development 
- August igl+2 - May 19^5" was prepared under the direction of 
Major General Orvil A, Anderson, former Deputy Commander for 
Operations, Eighth Air Force. 

It is "believed that the report is sound in its state-, 
ments and conclusions, and that it offers valuable information 
to anyone reviewing the combat activities of the Eighth Air 
Force during the air war against Germany. 




Major Gene 
Commanding General, ^Ugh^-te-A^ir Force 



OOffiilfflAL 



Eighth Air Fore 6 

TACTICAL DEVELOPMENT 

August 1942 - May 1945 



CONTENTS 

Chapter I - The Development of Basic Bomber Formations and Procedures. 

Chapter II - The Development of Basic Fighter Formations and Procedures. 

Chapter III- - Bombing. 

Chapter IV - Targets. 

Chapter V - The Air War on the Western Front, 1942 - 1945. 

Appendix "A'' - Development of the Organization. 

Appendix "B" - Major Modifications to Aircraft and Equipment. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



CHAPTER I 

Page 

Separate Squadrons of 6 a/c each (August, I9U2) 4 & 5 

18 a/c Group (September, 1942) 7 & £ 

36 a/c Group (September, 1942) 10 & 11 

Individual Groups of IS a/c each Javelin 

of Groups (December, 1942) 13 & 14 

Individual Groups of IS a/c each Wedge of 

Groups (February, I9M3) , 16 & 17 

Combat Wing of 3 Groups of 3 Squadrons of 
6 a/c each (Flown from March, 1943 to April, 
I9U3 in 1st and 3rd Divisions) 19 

3 Combat Wings of 54 a/c each (March, I9U3) 20 

More Compact Combat Wing of 5U a/c each 
3 Groups of 3 Squadrons of 6 a/c each' 
(April to December, I9U3) 22, ?3 & 24 

The 36 a/c Group (January, 1944) 26 & 27 

The 3^ a/c Group, 4 Squadrons, 9 a/c each 

(February- April,- I945) ' .' 29 & 30 

The 27 a/c Group, 3 Squadrons, 9 a/c each 
(Flown by 2nd Air Division February - 
April, I945) ;..:..■■ ' 32 & 33 

The 27 a/c Group - 3 Squadrons, 9 a/c each 
(Flown by 96th Combat Wing February - 
April, 1945) 35 & 36 

Eighth Air Force Group Assembly Areas 3S 

Procedure at IP for Bomb Run 39 

Group Assembly through Overcast 41 

Detail Plan of Group Assembly 42 

Wing and Division Assembly ". . 43 

Route to Target and Rally Point 44 

Group Maneuver at Initial Point and at Rally Point .... 45 

Route Out from Rally Point . . . 46 - 

Air Force Dispersion to Individual Airdromes 47 

Group Landing Procedure at Base 4S 

CHAPTER II 

Fighter Escort-Battle Formation - Plan View 51 

Basic Type of Escort Employing 3 Fighter Souadrons ... 53 & 54 



Page 

Basic Type of Escort Employing 3 Fighter Squadrons ... 55 

Basic Type of Escort Employing 1 Fighter Squadron .... 55 

Strafing - Part 1 57 

Strafing - Part 2 58 

Strafing - Part 3 59 

CHAPTER III 

Tons of Bombs Dropped on Various Target Categories ... 63 

Accuracy of Visual Bombing and Percentage Dropped 

by Visual and Overcast Methods . . „ 63 

H2X is Airborne Radar . . 66 

Bombing (Deflection-range) . . 67 

Navigation 62 

Sorties and Effective Sorties Flown by H2X during 1944 . 69 

Bombardment GroupB Equipped with H2X during I94U .... 69 

Percentage Serviceability Over Target of H2X 

during 1944 . . 69 

Gee-H Scope Just Before "Bombs Away" 70 

Distribution Within to 1 Miles of Aiming Point .... 72 

Li3tribution Within to 5 Miles of Aiming Point .... 72 

Number of Days by Months, on Which Targets 

Were Attacked by Eighth Air Force . 73 

CHAPTER IV 

Estimated Oil Production in German Controlled Territory . 77 

Axis Gasoline Producers, 1 April 1944, Chart A 79 

Axis Oil Producers, 1 April 1944, Chart B . 79 

German S/E Fighter Assembly Plants, 1 August 1943 .... 80 

German S/E Fighter Assembly Plants, 1 February 1944 ... SO 

German S/E Fighter Assembly Plants, 1 August 1944 .... gl 

Axis Ball Bearing Plants, 1 August 1943 81 

CHAPTER V 

Flak Chart, 26 September 1943, Chart A 87 

Flak Chart, 23 February 1945 , Chart B 87 



IV 



Operational Efficiency of Bombers, Chart A 91 

B-17 Penetrations Into Enemy Territory Chart B 91 

Certain Individual Losses Compared to 

Average Daily Losses, Chart A . . . 93 

Certain Individual Losses as a Percentage 

of Aircraft Bombing, Chart B . . . 93 

Operational Efficiency of Fighters, Chart A 95 

Number of Operational Fighters Monthly 

by Types, Chart B _ 95 

F-H7 Escort Ranges, Chart A .97 

P-51 and P-38 Escort Ranges, Chart 3 97 

Effectiveness of Enemy Fighters, Chart a 99 

Armament of Enemy Fighters, Chart B 99 

Strength of German Air Force on Western 

Front, Chart A 101 

Production of Fighters for German Air 

Force, Chart b" . . 101 

Enemy Aircraft Destroyed in Combat, Chart C 101 

Distribution of German Fighters by Fronts: 

Single Engine Fighters, Chart A 103 

Twin Engine Fighters, Chart B 103 

Major Enemy Industrial Areas, Chart A 105 

A few Major Targets, Chart B 105 

Enemy Single Engine Fighter Disposition, 

August 19*42, Chart A 107 

Range Capability, 17 August - 11 December 

19*42, Chart B 107 

Mission to Lille, 9 October 19*42: 

Penetration, Chart A 109 

Withdrawal, Chart B 109 

Enemy Single Engine Fighter Disposition, 

1 January 19V5, Chart A Ill 

Range Capability, 12 December 19*42 - 

2*4 July I9U3, Chart B Ill 

Mission of 13 June I9I+3 to Kiel and Bremen , 113 

Mission of 22 June 19*43 to Huls 115 

Mission of 2S June I9U3 to St. Nazaire 117 



Page 

Enemy Single Engine Fighter Disposition 

1 August 191+3, Chart A 119 

Range Capability, 25 July 19V3 - 

"19 February 19*4*4, Chart B 119 

Mission to Marienburg, 9 October 19*43 121 

Mission to Munster, 10 October I9U3 123 

Mission of 1*4 October I9U3 to Schweinfurt 125 

Enemy Day Fighter Disposition, 1 March Ijkk, Chart A. . 127 

■Range Capability, 20 February 19*4*4 - 

20 June 19*4*4, Chart B 127 

Mission to Leipzig, 20 February 19*4*4 129 

Mission to Merseburg, 12 May 19*4*4 13*2 & 1 3 3 

Enemy Fighter Disposition, 1 July 19*4*4, Chert A . . . . 135 

Range Capabilities, 21 June 19*4*4 - g May 19*45, Chart 3. 135 

Mission to Leuna, 11 September 19*4*4 136 

Mission 27 November 19*4*4, Fighter Attack 132 & 139 

Mission to Berlin, 5 December 1 9*4*4 1*hO 

Enemy Fighter Disposition, l January 19"+5> Chart A. . . 1*41 

Enemy Fighter Disposition, 1 May 19*45, Chart B .... 1*41 

APPENDIX A 

Schematic Organization of the Eighth Air 

Force as of 22 May, 19*42 2- A 

Organization of the Eighth Air Force on Date 

of First Independent Combat Mission *4-A 

Organization of the Eighth Air Force During the 
First Month in Which a Total of 1000 Bombers 

Were Dispatched Against German Occupied Europe . . . 6-A 

Station Organization (typical) Showing Command and 

Line Organization in the Spring of 19^3 8- A 

Organization of the Eighth Air Force At the Time 

of the Invasion of Italy 10- A 

Organization of the Eighth Air Force After 
Formation of U.S.S.T.A.F. in Preparation 

for Continental Invasion 12-A 

Organization of the Eighth Air Force Four 

Months after Invasion of Continent 1*4- A 



HIGH FIGHTER 
COVER 3.000ft 
above BOMBERS 



FIGHTER COVER 
1,500 ft to 2.000ft 
above BOMBERS 



FIGHTER COVER 
1.000 ft. to 1.500 R 
above BOMBERS 



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Enemy Twin. Jet A/c 

Rising to attack from 

ORANIENBURG A/F 



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to SIDE 



5/l0 cloud 
over Target area 



3/10 clood 
to Worth of 
Targer area 



Gun Emplacements 
around Target area. 



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18 MARCH, 1945 

Target : BERLIN 
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FRONTISPIECE 



CHAPTER I 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF 
BASIC BOMBER FORMATIONS 

AND 
PROCEDURES 



THE PROBLEM 



The original objective of formation flying by bombers was to concentrate sufficient 
fire power to permit the formation to fly anywhere in spite of enemy fighter attacks. The 
vital difference in viewpoint of the American bomber force from that of other nations was 
its emphasis ,on security of the force . To continue pressure on the enemy, our bomber force 
must be able to fly to-day, to-morrow and the next day. Without ample defense, we would 
take losses which might force our bombers to fly at night for security, thus losing all 
the advantages which would accrue from daylight bombing attacks. 

Although security of force was the dominant factor in these formations, other vital 
factors were involved in flying any formation: bomb pattern, visibility, flexibility, 
ease of flying, and ability to be commanded in the air. Every new formation had to be 
analysed for its adequacy in all these respects. 

By the fall of 19^3> i* became obvious that no new formation could develop sufficient 
defense to enable the force to venture unescorted deep into Germany where our choice 
targets lay. Enemy tactics had improved; new German armament out-ranged our .50 calibre 
machine guns. The rocket mortar mounted on twin-engined fighters, was lethal beyond the 
range of our guns. Much needed fighter escort of long range was soon to make its appear- 
ance. 

With the advent of these long-range fighters, the development of bomber formations 
proceeded toward quite different objectives. Now the need was to develop a formation 
which: 

(1) could be escorted readily, 

(2) would break down easily into units giving a better bomb pattern, and 

(3) would permit the passage of a number of units so rapidly over an area of 
heavy flak defense that the anti-aircraft guns could fire on only a few 
of the units. 

The charts and pictures following illustrate the developments in formation flying, 
first, to gain fire power for defense against enemy aircraft and, later, to improve 
escorting capabilities, the bomb pattern, and the defense against flak. The formations 
shown indicate the general trend; but commanding officers of units had leeway to exper- 
iment and make changes in formation as they gained experience in battle. 



DIAGRAM I - SEPARATE SQUADRONS OF 6A/C EACH (AUGUST 1942) 



On 17 August 1942 Eighth Air Force dispatched its first formation against Fortress 
Europe - one of two squadrons (each of 6 aircraft) flying a couple of miles apart. This 
separation range did not permit mutual fire support. Spitfires furnished top cover for 
the round trip to Rouen and return. 

Succeeding operations saw up to four such squadrons flying wide apart. These were 
covered by Spitfires except on the missions down to St. Nazaire and Lorient in whioh 
bombers outranged their Royal Air Force escort. 

This initial formation had the advantage of flexibility, but could only bring a small 
number of guns to bear on each attacking enemy aircraft. 



DIAGRAM I 



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B 



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PROFILE of GROUP 



FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 



DIAGRAM 



Separate Squadrons of 6 A/c each (August 1942) 



SQUADRON 
6 A/c 





DIAGRAM 2 - I8A/C GROUP (SEPTEMBER 1942) 



At a time when Germany's U-boat campaign was inflicting mounting losses on Allied 
shipping, the Eighth Air Force increased its penetration and ventured beyond escort range 
to attack submarine bases in France, Holland and Belgium. 

Growing aggressiveness of the Luftwaffe dictated compression of the previous loose 
formation of four squadrons, in order to make possible mutual support and more concentrated 
fire power. Air commanders experimented with two basic formations, the IS aircraft group 
(Diagram 2) and the 36 aircraft group (Diagram 3). 

The 18 aircraft group consisting of two boxes of 9 aircraft each, was designed to 
permit better control of more aircraft. Each squadron was a "V" of 3 elements, and each 
element a "V of 3 aircraft. The 9 aircraft in each squadron flew at the same altitude 
with the wing elements in trail of the lead element. The second squadron of 9 aircraft 
flew 500 feet above the first, slightly in trail and echeloned away from the sun. 

Although this formation was more compact than the original "Rouen 11 formation, it had 
less flexibility. On turns, wing aircraft lost sight of those toward the center of the 
formation during completion of the maneuver. Because unstacked elements blocked out each 
other's field of fire, vulnerability to German Air Force attacks at certain times was 
increased. 



DIAGRAM 2 



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2 Squadrons of 9 A/c 



600' 




DIAGRAM 3 - 36 A/C GROUP (SEPTEMBER 1942) 



This alternate formation was a further step in the direction of unified control. 
It had 3 units of 12 aircraft each, with each unit broken down into k elements of 3 
aircraft each. Inner aircraft were protected hut the formation did not solve the problem 
of flexibility, nor did it increase fire-power. Also, it was difficult to fly. The two 
trailing elements were required to he abreast of each other with all 6 aircraft at an 
elevation 80 feet below the lead elements. These elements were echeloned toward the sun 
from the lead elements. 

The formation did, however, solve in overall fashion the problem of staggering. 
In such a 36 aircraft group, three units of 12 aircraft each flew in a staggered formation, 
a lead unit, followed by a wing unit to the side and 500 feet above the lead; then the 
other wing unit still further behind at the opposite side and 1,000 feet above the lead. 

Although this type of formation kept as tightly closed as possible, tho lead aircraft 
flew out of the line of vision of many units, and this made a cohesive formation virtually 
impossible. 



DIAGRAM 3 



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IA/C 2,730' 



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(B) 



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FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 






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Group 




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PROFILE of GROUP 



DIAGRAM 3 




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6A/C 




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12A/C SQUADRON 
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3 SQUADRONS 
(36 A/C) 



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<b^\v^ 



DIAGRAM 4 - JAVELIN OF GROUPS OF I8A/C EACH (DECEMBER 1942) 



Numerical growth of the Eighth Air Force began to increase the capability of attack- 
ing more targets and penetrations went as deep as Romilly and Wllhelmshaven. But this 
extended tims of exposure to enemy fighter attacks. It should be remembered that at this 
time bomber formations still relied primarily on their own fire-power for defense against 
the German Air Force. Therefore, the development of a formation affording an absolute 
maximum of mutual fire support was vital. 

The first standardized javelin formation appeared in December 19I+2. It consisted of 
three squadrons - lead, high, and low. Squadrons comprised two elements in echelon, each 
element stacked toward the sun, with elements and squadrons similarly stacked. This change 
increased flexibility over the previous 36 aircraft formation, and brought greater fire- 
power to bear within each group, but it did not significantly help forward fire-power. 
The Luftwaffe exploited the vulnerability of the lightly defended nose of our aircraft, 
causing losses of 10 percent and 12 percent by mid-winter. Attempting to deny the enemy 
his best line of attack, groups were flown in trail, stacked above and behind the lead 
group and echeloned toward the sun. The groups became separated beyond the range of mutual 
fire-support, but at least column effect provided some denial to the enemy's freedom of 
attack. 

The chief disadvantage was difficulty of flying, this formation. Stacking in trail 
at increasing altitudes, caused troublesome speed differentials between high and low 
groups with resultant "stringing-out". Abortives mounted as individual bombers were 
unable to remain in formation, and mutual support became increasingly difficult. The 
addition of a fifth group to the Air Force made it necessary to discard this javelin 
formation. 



DIAGRAM 4 



® 

I Group 



1 Element 



390' 



-130'- 



80' 



160' 

J 



A) I A/C 



-2,340'- 



320' 



-780' 



PLAN of GROUP 






JrHbcl 



© 

I Squadron 



640' 



I Group 



I Element 



A) I A/C 



-I30-- 



150' 



-390' 



300' 



Squadron 

© 



-2,340'- 



-780' 



900' (g 
I Group 



■640' 



I Squadron 



Squa 

© 



I Element 



"T 

150' 

1 



300' 



FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 



* 320'- 

PR0F1LE GROUP 



4® 

I A/C 



900' 



DIAGRAM 4 



j*ib0»(»-39o'_ 



ELEMENT 
3 A/c 



Individual Groups of 18 A/c each ( December 1942 ) 

® 

2,340' 



n 



JAVELIN of GROUPS 




SQUADRON 
2 Elements of 3 A/c 



640'- 




18 A/c GROUP 
3 Squadrons of 6 A/c 




-fe MILES 





DIAGRAM 5 - WEDGE OF 5 GROUPS (FEBRUARY 1943) 



The -wedge formation replaced the javelin in an attempt to stop "stringing-out" in 
column. The lead group was placed in the oenter of this formation wiiii two groups stacked 
above in echelon and two groups stacked below in opposite echelon. Aircraft, squadrons, 
and groups were all stacked in the same direotion. 

This formation considerably shortened the column but did not entirely overcome a 
tendency to "string-out" caused by a difference in altitude between high and low groups . 
What it did do was to reduce the speed differential between lead and trailing groups, by 
placing the leader at mid-altitude. 

Also, by inoreasing forward fire-power it reduced somewhat the vulnerability to nose 
attaoks and thus favored mutual support. However, analysis of losses revealed that still 
more compression was necessary to counter the devastating nose attacks, and experiments 
were begun in order to inorease forward fire-power. The resulting formation appears in 
Diagram 6. 



DIAGRAM 5 



780'- 



® 

I Group 





c^p 3 


^ 

^r^? 




1 




=4^= 
=4^ 




320' 

1 


r_ 


! 


5 


®f 
1 Elementl 


- 390'- h 




© 
1 Squadron 


( 


'■<-!J0'-* 

T n 7il60' 

=!f° Li , 



-^ 2,340'- 



W l A/c 

PLAN of GROUP 



-640' 



-640' 




I Group 



2,340' 

FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 




-320'- 

PROFILE of GROUP 



DIAGRAM 5 



|*-I60'-H— 390' ^ 




ELEMENT 
3 A/c 



Individual Groups of 18 A/c each (February 1943) 
WEDGE of GROUPS 




SQUADRON 

2 Elements of 3 A/c 




18 A/c GROUP 

3 Squadrons of 6 A/c 



900' 




17 



DIAGRAM 6 - THE EARLY 54A/C COMBAT WING (MARCH , APRIL 1943) 



"Stringing-out" became so 'bothersome that, in March 19^3> a unit was developed 
consisting of the combat wing of three groups of IS aircraft each (total varied from 
5^ to 60 aircraft) . During the next few weeks variations were tried: 

(1) a lead group with one high wing-group and one low wing-group echeloned 
to the sides; 

(2) a lead group with high and low groups above and below and slightly in 
trail. 

The latter arrangement resulted in greatly increased forward fire-power and mutual 
support, but was difficult to fly, particularly on turns. The high group had trouble 
keeping the lead group in view. 

Even with the wing-men echeloned to the sides, this 5^ aircraft formation proved 
unwieldy, and squadrons at the outside positions, high and low, where too few guns could 
be brought to bear, were exposed. 

The doctrine of mutual support which prompted this larger formation was largely 
negated by the technical difficulties encountered. Consequently, it was replaced shortly 
thereafter. 



DIAGRAM 6 



COMBAT WING of 3 Groups of 3 Sodns of 6 A/c each = 54 A/c 
Flown from March 1943 to April 1943 in 1st and 3rd Divisions 



h >»*h~ 39 '^| 



&i"~ 150' 

!£3J±_ 



ELEMENT 
3 A/c 




SQUADRON 
2 Elements of 3 A/c 



jr 3,000' 



• -2,000' 




900' 



18 A/c GROUP 
3 Squadrons of 6 A/c 



1 



1,000' 



VERTICAL 
SCALE 




2900' 



COMBAT WING 
3 Groups 
(54 A/c) 



2,000' 



3,000' 



4,000' 



5,000' 6,000' 7,000' 



HORIZONTAL SCALE 



19 



DIAGRAM 6 



3 COMBAT WINGS of 54 A/c each ( MARCH 1943 ^ 




20 



DIAGRAM 7 - MORE COMPACT COMBAT WING OF 54A /C 
(APRIL - DECEMBER 1943) 



In June 19^3. P-^7' 8 of the Eighth Fighter Command "began escorting our bombers. As 
the force gained in "both experience and equipment these fighters gradually increased their 
range from about 175 miles away from fighter "bases in the United Kingdom to approximately' 
250 miles. In October I9U3, P-38's joined them. But bomber penetrations deepened even 
further beyond escort range, increasing greatly the hazard from enemy fighter attack. 
Consequently, mutual fire-power support continued to be the most important factor in bomber 
defense, as the Luftwaffe waited for the fighter escort to return home before attacking the 
bombers. 

In this deadly struggle, the need for increased fire-power and minimum exposure 
heightened. Hence two important variations in the 5k aircraft combat wing formation were 
put into effect: 

(1) Aircraft in each element were stacked in one direction, while both the elements 
and squadrons were stacked in the opposite direction; 

(2) the previously exposed highest and lowest squadrons were "tucked in" behind by 
reversing the echelon of the elements in each wing squadron of each group. 

The H tucked-in" 5^ aircraft formation afforded greater lateral compression, and 
considerably increased the number of guns uncovered, but it did little to solve the mounting 
problem of stragglers (responsible on some missions for over 50 percent of the aircraft lost). 
Twin-engine aircraft would lob rockets into a large bomber formation to disrupt it, after 
which the enemy, with coordinated single-engine attacks, would pick off the stragglers. 

Deep and costly penetrations, such as those to Schweinfurt in August and October, 
finally caused discard of the inflexible 5U aircraft combat wing. 



DIAGRAM 7 



®< 



I Group 



^ 






®< 

I Group] 



455'- 



=4^ 



-228'- 

' Squadron I 



I 



320' 



— y§) | Element 



-640' 



H 390 - 

1,138 - 



PLAN of GROUP 



455' H 



I Squadron \ 
lA/c ( 



^ 



150" 
II 

-«Js= -390'- 



® 

I Element 



300' 



900' 



1,138- 



I Group 



-320'- 



1 Squadron 



[ Element 



B 



160- 



^900' 



-640* 



FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 



PROFILE of GROUP 



DIAGRAM 7 



ELEMENT 
3 A/c 



More Compact COMBAT WING of 54 A/c 
3 Groups of 3 Squadrons of 6 A/c each 

(APRIL to DECEMBER 1943) 



^-320'- -^ -- 455' — *j 




SQUADRON 
2 Elements of 3 A/c 




900 



18 A/c GROUP 
3 Squadrons of 6 A/c 




54 A/c COMBAT WING 
3 Groups of 18 A/c 



2700* 



23 



DIAGRAM 7 



More Compact COMBAT WINGS of 54 A/c each ( APRIL 1943 ) 



idD o:d 




24 



DIAGRAM 8 - THE 36A/C GROUP (JANUARY 1944) 



Between mid October 19U3 and mid January I9M+, the Eighth experimented with a revised 
36 aircraft group, and after this period the 36 aircraft formation entirely replaced the 
unwieldy $h aircraft combat wing. 

Two factors, more than any others, influenced the adoption of the 36 aircraft group 
as Standard Operating Procedure: 

(1) the introduction and extended use of overcast "bombing; 

(2) the increasing range of fighter escort. 

Seventy-five percent of the Eighth 1 s attacks in January and February of I9UU involved 
German targets, and over half of these were bombed through the overcast. Because of the 
shortage of PFF (Pathfinder Force) equipment, it was necessary that the squadrons be com- 
pressed as tightly as possible. This was accomplished by fashioning a 12 aircraft squadron 
with four elements of 3 aircraft each. All aircraft in an element flew at the same elevat- 
ion. The four elements were a lead, a high-wing, a low, and a low-low trailing. This 
uncovered more guns and increased cohesion of the individual unit, although the formation 
was still difficult to fly. 

Escort problems affected the group formation as much as overcast bombing influenced 
the squadron. For all this time, the escort range and number of our fighters was increasing 
and more attention was being paid to flying bomber groups in a way best calculated to aid 
fighter escort. Savings of width and height were effected in the three squadrons which 
flew as a group consisting of lead, high-wing, and low-wing squadrons. 

The effectiveness of this tighter formation and its fighter escort was established in 
the February debacle of the Luftwaffe, which was rendered temporarily impotent by a series 
of knockout blows during the Spring of I9UH. 



25 



DIAGRAM 8 



I Group 



Jfc- 



AX 



«$» 



I Element 



-520'- 



400' 



— t: 



a 



"T 
80' 

±- 



-I30V 



A 



^r 



] ^-^^^^k-^ ■: ■■":■ i ^-V-Li^T^ 






© 

Squadron 



-390' ^V^ 
— 1,560 ^, A/c 

PLAN of GROUP 



800' 



Group) 



~*± =u- - 



520' 



I Element^ 



130'' 



20C! 



/"" " 



-390' — 
®l AA: 



F^ 



© 

I Squadron 



T 



600' (DX600' 
Group 



1,560' - 



FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 



400'- 



^?00' 



(5) 

Squadron 



(♦-I60 1 

" 2 



(B) 
Element 



800'- 



PROFILE of GROUP 



A/c 



26 



DIAGRAM 8 




The 36 A/c GROUP (January 1944 ) 

800 



® 



ELEMEN 
31 A/c 





500 



SQUADRON 
4 Elements of 3 A/c 



36 A/c GROUP 

3 Squadrons of 12 A/c 



DIVISION FORMATION 
±12 Groups of 36 A/c each 




27 



DIAGRAM 9 - THE 27 OR 36A/C GROUP - B-17 FORMATION 
(FEBRUARY - APRIL 1945) 



By iglj-5 the Luftwaffe was no longer a major threat. Lack of fuel and 
experienced pilots had reduced it to a mere shadow of its once-powerful self. 
Our 'bomber hours and sorties mounted; bomber combats decreased. Our expanded 
escort could now control the sky over all the target routes. Fighter cover had 
supplanted bomber fire-power as the first line of air defense. 

Being able to rely less and less on their crippled Luftwaffe, the Nazis 
tightened and intensified their flak. What was needed then was a formation 
which could be easily escorted en route and still bomb targets as effectively 
but in less time and with less exposure to flak. Thus evolved the normal 27 
aircraft group of three 9 aircraft squadrons, increasing to 36 aircraft when 
a fourth or low-low squadron was added. 

The new 9 aircraft squadron, compressed in air space, was superior to the 
12 aircraft squadron in that it increased cohesion of the individual unit and 
afforded more flexibility. The smaller formation was easier to control and 
easier to fly. With less confusion it was now possible to obtain better results 
in the bomb pattern and reduce per-plane exposure to flak. 

So satisfactory was the new formation that B-17s flew it until operations 

ended. 



28 



DIAGRAM 9 




480' 



I Group 

(O) 



-390'- 



Element(B) 



80' 



t 



"'Zyjp' 



\ 

160 



800' 



--{A) I A/c 



390' 

1,170' 

PLAN of GROUP 




^*&5* ■ -.*&*.*— 




1,170' 

FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 




,050' (D} 1,050' 
I Group. 



PROFILE of GROUP 



29 



DIAGRAM 9 



THE 27 OR 36 A/c GROUP- B 17 FORMATION 
( Februar y throu g h April 1945) 
4 SQUADRONS of 9 A/c each 



pj^j® 



-50' 




Detail of Plan 

ELEMENT 
3 A/c 



. 480'- > ^-390'^| 



SQUADRON 
3 Elements of 3 A/c 




36 A/c GROUP 
4 Squadrons oL9 A/a 



DIVISION FORMATION 
±12 Groups of 36 A/c each 




30 



DIAGRAM 10 - THE 27A/C GROUP - B-24 FORMATION 
(FEBRUARY- APRIL 1945) 



Because the B-24 is more difficult to fly in formation and has more 
restricted visibility, 2nd Air Division employed a slightly different 27 aircraft 
group formation from the B-17s during this period. 

Basically, the formation depicted in Diagram 10 is similar to that in Diagram 
9. For better bomb pattern, however, one element (either high or low wing) was 
flown to one side affording greater target coverage. The foxmation had the same 
advantages as those used by the B-17s and became Standard Operating Procedure. 

On the route in, number three or number two aircraft of the side element in 
a squadron would sometimes cross over and the other two aircraft would close in. 
This put two aircraft on one side of the squadron's main flight of six and one 
aircraft on the other side. 

Bombing was accomplished by squadrons with less per-plane exposure to flalc. 
Thus the enemy, short on Anti-Aircraft shells, wa6 required to fire more per-plane 
in order to cause the same damage as he had to the old 54 aircraft combat wing and 
36 aircraft group formations. 



31 



DIAGRAM 10 



T, 

150 

i 



I Group] 







2,440'- 



PLAN of GROUP 



-780'- 



I Squadron 



I Element 
(B) 



-39 



22SJ 



K-I30'*t 



(A) 

I A/c 



-2,440'- 



FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 



I Group 




PROFILE of GROUP 



320' 



700' 



32 



DIAGRAM 10 




THE 27A/c GROUP -B24 FORMATION 
(February throu g h A pril. 1945) 

(Flown by 2"Q Air Division) 
3 SQUADRONS 6f 9A/c each 

£-50' 



780'- 




SQUADRON 
3 Elements 3 A/c 




\ 

Detail of Plan 

ELEMENT 

3 A/c 



27 A/c GROUP 
3 Squadrons 9 A/c 



DIVISION FORMATION 
± 12 GROUPS of 27A/c each 



,^£JIP 



Zt3"Z& 




inutes' 





Hflfr C 



700' 




33 



DIAGRAM II - THE 27A/C GROUP AS FLOWN BY 96TH COMBAT WING , 
2ND AIR DIVISION - (FEBRUARY - APRIL 1945) 



An improvement on the 2nd Air Division's formation (Diagram 10) was developed by the 
96th Combat Wing. Instead of flying the three squadrons as a lead, a high right, and a 
low left, they were stacked in trail as a lead, a low, and a low-low. 

This erabled groups to fly at closer interval, especially on the bomb run, with the 
result that less aircraft were damaged by flak. Not only did it condense the site of the 
group box and improve the bomb pattern, but it also enabled all three groups to give each 
other superior fire support without losing the advantages of the fonmtions shown in Dia- 
grams 9 and 10. 

Employment of this formation raised the standard of bombing accuracy and defensive fire 
power of this group to the highest level of performance. 



DIAGRAM II 



720' 




I Group 



© 

I Squadrorr 



I Element) j 8 o 



T 

160 



:® 



Vc 



240* 



170'- 



PL AN of GROUP 



•*~~ M30H 




I a^ I Element 



© 



Squadron 







1,170'- 



FRONT ELEVATION of GROUP 



800' 800' 



_i_ _i_l 



T 
150' 

1 



I Squadron 



I Element 






-240- 



300 



30o\ 

i 



s> 

I Group 



720' 



PROFILE of GROUP 



35 



DIAGRAM II 



THE 27A/c GROUP AS FLOWN BY THE 

961" COMBAT WING , 2^ AIR DIVISION 

( February throu g h A pril 1945) 

3 SQUADRONS of 9A/c each 



|i^t-39o^® 




^240^ 780 . | 



SQUADRON 

3 Elements 3 A/c 




Detail of Plan 

ELEMENT 

3 A/c 



27A/c GROUP 
3 Squadrons 9 A/c 



COMBAT WING FORMATION 
3 GROUPS of 27 A/c each 




1800' 




36 



OVERCAST ASSEMBLY PROCEDURE FOR EIGHTH AIR 
FORCE BOMB GROUPS 



The diagram "Eighth Air Force Group 
Assembly Areas" shows the assembly areas used 
by each group when an overcast existed. 

The unusual concentration of bomber bases 
in a limited area, and their proximity to one 
another demand inviolate adherence to this 
procedure. Otherwise fatal accidents would 
result. 3rd Air Division, for example, had to 
dispatch aircraft from lU stations concentrated 



in an area roughly Uo by 35 miles square. The 
other two Divisions faced similar problems. 

Aircraft were required to take-off 30 to 
45 seconds apart, sometimes in zero ceiling 
with less than 500 yards visibility. Pilots 
knew beforehand the exact headings, speed, 
distance separating each plane, and length of 
each leg in the pattern they were to fly. For 
self-protection, all climbed at the same rate 



to the briefed spot where the assembly pattern 
took shape. And each group had its own buncher 
or splasher beacon for control points. 

In this fashion they would sometimes 
climb through as much as 20,000 feet of over- 
cast (80 to 90 minutes of instrument flying) 
in order to form on top, since assembly had to 
be made under conditions assuring 1,500 feet 
of clear air vertically. 



BOMB RUN PROCEDURE AT INITIAL POINT 



Eighth Air Force squadrons have followed 
three procedures in peeling off at the Initial 
Point prior to the bomb run. 

Diagram "A " depicts the original proced- 
ure - in use from August 19^-2 through March 
I9I+I+. The squadrons flew as a group, proceed- 
ing along the penetration route as lead, high, 
and low squadrons. Just prior to the Initial 
Point, all three took interval towards the 
outside of the turn. This allowed the lead 
squadron to turn directly over the Initial 
Point and make its bomb run to the target along 
the briefed course. 

The second squadron, usually high, proc- 
eeded straight ahead until it uncovered the 
lead squadron. Then it turned toward the 
target to establish its bomb run. 

Squadron three, usually low, followed the 
same procedure, turning after it uncovered the 
second squadron. 

Thus the three squadrons unhindered by one 
another could fly along separate paths toward 
the same target. In thiB procedure only the 



first squadron made its bomb run on the briefed 
course. The other two did not fly the briefed 
path and encountered the problem of identifying 
the target from a different heading. Experience 
revealed that the first squadron did the most 
accurate bombing. Therefore a change in pro- 
cedure was instituted in order to improve the 
bombing of the entire group. 

Diagram "B " - In March l<)kk a new "fanning 
out" procedure was adopted. This enabled all 
three squadrons in a group to turn over the 
briefed Initial Point and fly along the briefed 
bomb run to the target. 

In this procedure the three squadrons - 
lead, high, and low - followed the penetration 
route until they reached a spot not more than 
five minutes before the Initial Point. Then 
the lead squadron proceeded straight ahead 
while the other two took interval to the out- 
side of the turn as follows. The second (high) 
squadron, echeloning away from the direction 
of turn, took interval of approximately two 
miles to the side of the lead squadron. Number 
two then flew parallel to the original course, 
maintaining the lateral interval. 



Likewise, the third (low) squadron spaced 
itself an equal distance to the outside of the 
second, maintaining the lateral interval along 
a parallel course, but echeloned out and back. 

This enabled all three squadrons to turn 
and pass directly over the briefed Initial 
Point and move in trail toward the target as 
briefed with an interval of approximately two 
miles between squadrons. 

As a result all three maintained their 
altitude differences, had enough interval to 
avoid interference and flew the same course 
without having to identify the target individ- 
ually on unbrief ed headings. 

Diagram "C " - in January I9U5 came another 
change. Flak losses dictated that the column 
must be shortened for the bomb run so that each 
group's "passing-over" time would also be cut. 
Interval between squadrons was subsequently 
reduced from kO to 20 seconds with the result 
that an- entire group could pass over the target 
in approximately one minute. This procedure 
remained in effect until the end of the war. 



37 



EIGHTH AIR FORCE . 
GROUP ASSEMBLY AREAS 

(USED WHEN OVERCAST EXISTS) 

LINCOLN 



NOTTINGHAM 



DERBY 



COVENTRY 



1ST air division 

2nd. AIR DIVISION 
3rd. AIR DIVISION 




5 5 10 15 20 25 

SCALE OF MILES 



PROCEDURE at LP. for BOMB RUN 



2 MILES 
NTERVAL 




SQUADRONS RETAIN ORIGINAL 
ALTITUDE. 



TARGET 




GROUP FANS OUT 
4 MINUTES BEFORE 

I.R 



SQUADRONS RETAIN ORIGINAL 
ALTITUDE. 




TARGET 




MILE 
INTERVAL 



SQUADRONS RETAIN ORIGINAL 
ALTITUDE. 



GROUP FANS OUT 
4 MINUTES BEFORE 

I.R 



LEAD SQUADRON 
HIGH SQUADRON 
LOW SQUADRON 




TARGET 



39 



A TYPICAL MISSION 



For the Eighth Air Force bombing of Berlin on 18 March 1945, a huge force of bombers 
took off; climbed through 3,000 feet of overoast; assembled by Group, Wing and Division; 
flew a briefed penetration route; maneuvered at the Initial Point for the bomb run; bombed; 
reformed at the Rally Point; flew a briefed withdrawal route; disassembled by Division, 
Wing and Group; then the entire force landed. 

The following eight diagrams show how this was done. A rigid time schedule governed 
each phase of the mission from the moment the first plane took-off until the entire force 
landed . 



40 



No I 



GROUP ASSEMBLY through OVERCAST 
Mission : BERLIN, 18, MARCH, 1945 

Take off at 0700 hrs. 



LEAD A/c OF HIGH SQUADRON CIRCLES AT 9,000' (5 MILES RADIUS) 



IS AT 8,000' (5 MILES RADIUS) 



LEAD A/c OF LOW SQUADRON CIRCLES AT 7,000' (5 MILES RADIUS) 




BUNCHER 
NO 29 



SIDE VI EW 



41 



DETAIL PLAN 
GROUP ASSEMBLY 

LEAD HIGH and LOW SQUADRONS 

FORM at 8,000,9,000' and 7000' 

RESPECTIVELY 



36A/C GROUP FORMED AT 0816 HRS. 
PROCEEDING ON FIRST LEG AT 8,000 FT. 



N°2 







N° 29 



# 




42 



No 3 



N 



52°33'N. 
00°05'E. 




H 



0853 HRS. 
CRloMER (SPLASHER N° 5) 




MARCH 
0837 HRS. 

ALTITUDE: 10,800 FT. 



41st. COMBAT BOMB WING 



ST NEOTS 



52°34' N. °> 
-f- 00°54' E. 



GEE FIX AT 
WAT TON 
0843 !fe HRS. 

ALTITUDE: 12,000 FT. 



WING and DIVISION 
ASSEMBLY 



43 



BUNCHER N0.24 

0947 HRS 

CONTROL POINT NQI 

ALTITUDE 12,000 FT, 



No. 4 



T H 



■^i^r 




k "R.R 1115 HRS. 
ALTITUDE 23000 FT 



BERLIN 

„ ,. 1107 HRS. 
ALTITUDE 25,000 FT. 



ROUTE to TARGET 

ond 

RALLY POINT 



GROUP MANEUVER 


AT 

INITIAL POINT 


AN D AT 

RALLY POINT 



No5 



52° 56' N 
13° 38'E 

R.P. 

ALTITUDE 23,000 FT. 




ALTITUDE 25,000 FT. 



LAN 



45 



No. 6 



N 



o 



/? 



^f/^ >&> 




52°56'N 

I3°38'E 

R.P. 1115 HRS. 

ALTITUDE 23,000 FT. 



ROUTE OUT 

from 
RALLY POINT 



46 



AIR FORCE DISPERSION 
TO INDIVIDUAL AIRDROMES 



ENGL 



N R 



N° 7 



145IHRS 



492 



• 


1ST AIR DIVISION A/DS 


• 


2NDAIR DIVISION A/DS 


• 


3RD AIR DIVISION A/DS 



/LO N DON 




47 



No. a 



GROUP LANDING PROCEDURE 
at 
BASE 



LEAD AND HIGH SQUADRONS 
MAKE A WIDER CIRCUIT OF A/D. 
LEAD SQUADRON THEN LANDS 
IN SAME MANNER AS THE LOW 
SQUADRON. HIGH SQUADRON 

CONTINUES AROUND ONCE MORE 
AND THEN LANDS. 



LEAD ELEMENTS OF 
LOW SQUADRON 
CONTINUE AROUND 
A/D IN FORMATION 



W ELEMENTS OF 
LOW SQUADRON NOW 
PEEL OFF AND LAND. 




TRAFFIC PATTERN 



DOWN WIND LEG 



48 



CHAPTER n 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF 
BASIC FIGHTER FORMATIONS 

AND 
PROCEDURES 



49 



TO THE LIMIT OF THEIR ENDURANCE 



Escort operations of the Eighth Fighter 
Command were divided into two main phases. 
Prom k May igU3,when P-'iy* s escorted Fortresses 
for the first time, through January 19^, 
fighters were tied closely to the bombers. 
They were not permitted to desert formations 
to' pursue enemy aircraft. After January I9M+ 
the doctrine of "ultimate pursuit of the enemy" 
was adopted and our fighters were allowed to 
follow the enemy until they destroyed him in 
the air or on the ground. 

Three P-U7 groups actually began operations 
during April I9U3 by flying patrols and sweeps 
such as Royal Air Force Spitfires were carrying 
out. During this period, our fighters tried 
the Royal Air Force practice of keeping a close 
and orderly formation with 50 to 75 feet "bet- 
ween aircraft. On the early escort missions 
"beginning in May, they flew an "umbrella" over 
the Fortresses similar to that used by the 
Royal Air Force in providing cover for Welling- 
tons - which had tail and front turrets but 
lacked overhead defense. 

In applying the umbrella principle to 
B-17 escort, however, the P-U7's found that 
German Air Force fighters would attack at the 
level of the bombers from the sides and front, 
while defending aircraft remained idly above. 
The umbrella soon was abandoned, and P-Uj's on 
escort spread out more and flew closer down to 
the bomber level. 

The Royal Air Force idea of a two- ship 
element, with the wing man slightly above and 
to the rear, was retained. United States 
training in "V" elements of three aircraft 
flying level was abandoned. Eventually the 
P-l+7's combined two two-ship elements into a 
four-ship flight which called for an almost 
line-abreast formation. Except for subsequent 
wider separation of aircraft, this four-ship 
flight remained basic. 

During the initial period, escort was 
possible only for 20 to 3° minutes, since 
auxiliary tanks were not yet in use. Groups 
flying out to rendezvous with bombers, when- 
ever possible avoided enemy fighters, for 
their assigned mission was to reach and pro- 
tect the bombers. 



Escort tactics all this time were being 
influenced by three main factors: 

(1) the need of bombers for increasing 
protection, 

(2) enemy strength and disposition, 

(3) growth of fighter range. 

The presence of P-Vf's after May I9A3 
forced the German Air Force fighters to alter 
their own tactics. Formerly the enemy had 
attacked our bombers at the French Coast. They 
soon learned to withhold these attacks until 
the P-U7's exceeded their limit of endurance. 
But on 28 July I9V3, a few P-Vf's achieved 
tactical surprise by using 75-gallon external 
tanks for the first time. Immediately the 
number of enany aircraft shot down increased 
sharply. By October, four new Thunderbolt 
groups became operational. About this time, 
108-gallon belly tanks came into use. The P-U7 
so equipped, extended its range, finally reach- 
ing 375 miles from base with this fuel capacity. 

"Y" Service also made its operational 
appearance during this period, enabling groups, 
out on sweeps to be vectored to enemy rendez- 
vous points. This resulted in some interfer- 
ence with the large German Air Force concen- 
trations preparing to attack our bombers. 
Another method of control by British "Type l6" 
equipment was effective within limited range 
for vectoring our fighters on enemy aircraft. 

The first group of P-38'6 became operat- 
ional in October to provide escort and target 
supr-ort beyond the range of the P-^7's. For 
a time small numbers and unforeseen mechanical 
difficulties limited their effectiveness, but 
in December another P-3S group and a group of 
P-51B's were added with excellent results. 

Range increases affected escort formations. 
Back in June 19^3 • escort began to open out in 
order to cover more sky space. There was no 
drastic spreading; only 100 yards or so between 
aircraft. Then as penetrations deepened, the 
fighter formations opened still wider, with 
aircraft approximately 250 yards apart. 
Distances between aircraft, altitude flown, end 
tactics employed would vary with each fighter 



group. Air Commanders were encouraged to 
experiment with new tactics, and did. However, 
the four-ship Battle Formation remained basic 
(Diagram l). 

On h January lgl+U, P-38's and P-51's 
increased their escort range to Kiel and Munster 
the next dayP-^'s accompanied the bombers as 
far south as Bordeaux. Longer fighter range 
now made possible a vital change in battle 
doctrine. Group Commanders were ordered to 
pursue the Hun until he was destroyed . "Put the 
fear of God into them" was how one fighter 
controller summed it up. Commanders coula 
exercise judgement in leaving the bombers to 
search for the enemy under the doctrine that 
such offensive tactics accelerated destruction 
of the German Air Force. When the Hun did not 
come up to give battle, the fighters went down 
after him, singling out airfields to strafe and 
bomb when not providing escort. 

The battle formation of U aircraft flying 
approximately 250 yards apart continued. Only 
now, groups spread out their basic elements to 
cover more ground, ranging out J or 8 miles to 
the sides of the heavies. Then in the latter 
part of January I9IA, one P-U7 group experiment- 
ed with a sweep formation, spreading out as 
scouts over a ^-mile front well in advance of 
the bomber stream. Although this "Zemke fan" 
proved too vulnerable to enemy attacks, it did 
blaze the way for modified sweep tactics used 
effectively later on. 

Increased range made this possible. By 
March I9M+, P-38's had a potential radius of 
585 miles; P-5IB 1 s, 650 miles with two 75 
gallon wing tanks. Then the P-51's began to 
use two 108 gallon tanks, increasing their 
potential radius to 850 miles. 

The 29 May \<)kk marked an historicoccasioii^ 
X°r^TgM-e?=^i5or^7^^ 

ed target supportf~at-Posen, Poland (over 700 
miles from base) and returned with the bombers. 
From then on fighters escorted the bombers 
wherever they went. In June, P-51's flew escort 
all the way to Poltava in the Ukraine, (1700 

(CONTINUED ON PAGE 52) 



50 



FIGHTER ESCORT 



BATTLE FORMATION 



PLAN VIEW 



DIAGRAM 



SECOND ELEMENT 



A FLIGHT 



LEAD ELEMENT 



-250 YDS- 



THE FLIGHT 



4 A/C. 



TWO ELEMENTS OF 2 A/C EACH. WING 
MAN OF EACH ELEMENT FLIES WITH NOSE 
OPPOSITE CANOPY OF HIS LEADER. LEADER 
OF THE SECOND ELEMENT FLIES WITH 
NOSE OPPOSITE CANOPY OF LEADER OF 
LEAD ELEMENT. ALL A/C FLY AT THE 
SAME ALTITUDE, AND APPROXIMATELY 
250 YDS. APART. 



A SQUADRON 




LEAD SECTION 

I MILE - (1,630 YDS) - 



HIGH SECTION 



IS SOFT UP AND 50 FT BACK 
FROM THE LEAD A/C OF THE LEAD SECTION 



A SQUADRON 



2'/ 4 MILES -(3,950 YDS) 



A SQUADRON 



16 A/C. 



TWO SECTIONS EACH HAVING 2 FLIGHTS . 
THE HIGH SECTION FLIES APPROXIMATE- 
LY 50 FT ABOVE, AND 50 FT BEHIND 
THE LEADER OF THE LEAD SECTION. 
ALL A/C IN A SECTION ARE AT THE 
SAME LEVEL. ALL A/C HAVE A CLEAR- 
ANCE OF 250 YDS, WING-TIP TO WING-TIP. 



' "'UiiilUll - 



A GROUP 


1 1 i l i 1 1' 1 1 1 j 1 1 1 


| J 1 1 1 1 l l [ i l ] i l 



Nihil", lU 



HIGH SQUADRON 



(2"T/ 4 MILES) 



±140' 



LEAD SQUADRON 



LOW SQUADRON 



A GROUP 

(9 MILES WIDE) 



A GROUP 



48 A/C. 



3 SQUADRONS . A LEAD, A HIGH 
AND A LOW. THE HIGH SQUADRON 

FLIES APPROXIMATELY 1000 FT. ABOVE 
THE LEAD SQUADRON ; THE LOW 
SQUADRON FLIES APPROXIMATELY 
750 FT. BELOW THE LEAD SQUADRON, 
THE WING SQUADRONS FLY A FEW FEET 
BACK (± 50 FT.) IN ORDER TO GUIDE 
ON THE LEAD SQUADRON. 



TO THE LIMIT OF THEIR ENDURANCE 



(CONTINUED PROM PAGE 50) 

miles from base), where both bombers and fight- 
ers landed at Russian bases. Later the fighters 
shuttled down to Fifteenth Air Force bases in 
Italy, then escorted a bomber mission back 
again to bases in Britain. 

Beginning in August l^kk, bomber boxes 
became smaller and columns longer. Now more 
fighter units were necessary. With strength 
per group increasing to 85 and 90 aircraft, 
fighter groups met this need by slicing oper- 
ational units in two, building "A" and "B" 
groups with upwards of 2k aircraft each, each 
having its own Air Commander. The split in- 
creased flexibility of escort, allowing a 
combination of close support by part of a group 



and sweeping tactics by the other part. Heavy 
losses were 'inflicted on the Luftwaffe which 
found it increasingly expensive to attack the 
bombers through our fighter defense. Eventually 
the Hun lapsed into the general practice of 
attacking the heavies only when they became 
scattered or while fighter escort was absent. 

Microwave Early Warning control was moved 
in November l^kk from the English coast to 
Gulden, Holland (west of Aachen) and gave our 
fighters additional "eyes" further into enemy 
territory. Deeper enemy concentrations, 
disposed to protect Germany's industrial vitals, 
were now much more vulnerable inasmuch as 
Microwave Early Warning controllers could vector 
our fighter groups onto enemy concentrations 
within an effective range of some 1 65 miles 



from the Microwave Early Warning site. Coupled 
with "Y" information, Microwave Early Warning 
gave "fighter controllors remarkable knowledge 
of the progress of enemy interception. 

All thie time the swarm of P-51 ' s multi- 
plied. In September I9UU, the P-38's were 
replaced; by October most of the P-l+7 groups 
had switched to P-51's. December saw the 
entire Fighter Command operating P-51 ' s except 
for the 56th Group which retained P-hj' s. The 
switch-over caused notable gains in range and 
in actual number of escort hours. It was the 
final phase in the transformation of a fighter 
force having primarily a protective escort 
function, into a much more versatile one poss- 
essing offensive and harassing capabilities as 
well. 



TYPES OF ESCORT 



The Eighth Air Force gave Group Commanders 
ample freedom in deciding how they would employ 
their fighters on escort missions. However, 
three basic types of fighter escort were used: 

(1) close or direct support, 

(2) area or indirect support, and 

(3) a combination of both. 

Close Support 

Fighter range is reduced considerably on 
escort duty because fighters must weave to 
stay with the slower bombers. Even though 
fighters flying alone have enough range to go 
directly to a target area and return from a 
deep penetration, the necessity of weaving 
drastically reduces their range. 

To overcome this difficulty in connection 
with Eighth Air Force missions, a "relay 
system" of fighter escort was planned in which 
one group of fighters would pick up the bombers 



as soon as they reached enemy territory and 
escort them for roughly 150 to 200 miles. 
About five minutes before the fighter group 
reached its range limit another group, flying 
directly from base to a pre-arranged rendezvous 
point, would furnish relief. Again when the 
second group reached its limit a third would 
take over. The relay system, with relief 
coming practically every hour, would continue 
until the bombers were back over friendly 
territory. 

Area Support 

This method was usually employed when the 
bombers left England in small groups, or when 
the bomber stream would split into small units 
after entering enemy territory. To supply 
continuous close support under these conditions 
would be difficult with the limited number of 
fighter groups available. 

Area support enabled the fighters to 
patrol the areas through which the bombers 
would pass or in which they bombed. By arriv- 



ing in their assigned areas in advance of the 
bombers, fighter groups could engage enemy air- 
craft attempting to form up for interception. 

Combination Area and Close Sup-nort 

Combination area and close support was 
used on missions in which a large number of 
bombers would proceed from England as a single 
force deep into enemy territory and then would 
separate into small units to attack many 
targets. 

The deeper distances involved precluded 
area support along the entire route. Limited 
numbers of fighters made it impracticable to 
assign close support to each small unit of 
bombers in the target area. Close support 
therefore, would be provided while the bombers 
flew as a single force, and additional fighter 
groups ^ arriving in advance of the heavies, 
would cover the target areas. They would 
remain until the bombers cleared the area. 
As the bombers reassembled into a single force, 
close support would again be provided for the 
return trip. 



52 



FIGHTER ESCORT 



SQUADRON 5 MILES 
AHEAD and SLIGHTLY 
ABOVE BOMBERS TO 

STOP HEAD ON 
ATTACKS by ENEMY * 







DIAGRAM 2 




rWaikS^^^v 






_^^~\\pl8t 











SQUADRON 
1,500' ft. to 2,000 ft. 
ABOVE BOMBERS 




SQUADRON 
1,000 ft to 1,500 ft. 
ABOVE BOMBERS 



BASIC TYPE of ESCORT EMPLOYING 3 FIGHTER SQUADRONS. FLIGHTS CROSS OVER ON TURNS TO COVER 
EACH OTHER AGAINST TAIL ATTACK. SECTIONS and SQUADRONS CRISS CROSS FOR MUTUAL PROTECTION. 



53 



FIGHTER ESCORT 



DIAGRAM 3 




BASIC TYPE of ESCORT EMPLOYING 3 FIGHTER SQUADRONS. SECTIONS 
and SQUADRONS COVER EACH OTHER AGAINST TAIL ATTACKS 



54 



FIGHTER ESCORT 

A: BASIC TYPE of ESCORT 
EMPLOYING 3 FIGHTER 
SQUADRONS. 



DIAGRAM 4 



SQUADRON 5 MILES 
AHEAD and SLIGHTLY 

ABOVE BOMBERS TO 
STOP HEAD ON 

ATTACKS by ENEMY % 



B- BASIC TYPE of ESCORT when 

only I FIGHTER SQUADRON is 

AVAILABLE. 

LEAD SECTION FLIES 2^500' 
ABOVE FRONT of BOMBERS. 




REAR SECTION FLIES 2,500' 
ABOVE REAR OF BOMBERS. 





HIGH SECTION 
1,000' to 1,500' 
ABOVE BOMBERS 












LOW SECTION 
500' to 1,000' 
ABOVE BOMBERS 



SECTIONS FLY ON EACH SIDE OF BOMBERS 
OUT OF RANGE OF MACHINE GUN FIRE. 

(over 3,600') 



55 



FIGHTER STRAFING 



The doctrine of "ultimate nursuit" of 
enemy fighters, initiated in January 19^, 
encouraged our fighters to attack enemy air- 
fields, transportation, and other ground 
targets while returning to base. The success 
of these low-level' operations prompted the 
planning in March l®kk of two full-scale 
strafing offensives: Plans "Jackpot" and 
"Chatanooga Choo Choo". 

For purposes of these plans, Germany was 
divided into halves. Each half, again was sub- 
divided into 15 areas. This gave each fighter 
group two areas for study and "briefing. Plan 
"Jackpot" covered attacks on enemy aircraft on 
the ground within the prescribed areas; Plan 
"Chatanooga" for attacks on locomotives and 
transport. Neither of these plans was fully 
exploited. Only when weather prevented bomber 
operations were the fighters free to execute 
them. On the few occasions when the plans 
could be put into effect, striking successes 
resulted. 

3-Day and the "beach-head period following, 
witnessed the climax and maximum use of Eighth 
Fighter Command as an independent striking 
force. Areas of patrol were established, 
ringing Normandy as far south as the Loire 
River. Fighter groups, sub-divided into "A" 
and "3", and even "C" units, patrolled these 
areas as well as the adjacent shipping lanes 
during all the daylight hours. Although their 
primary mission was to prevent aerial attack on 
our ground and sea forces, stoppage of enemy 
rail and roafl movement for reinforcement and 
resupply of the German Army eventually became 
the major 6bjective. This phalanx of fighters 
made it impossible for the few aircraft risked 
by the Luftwaffe to launch any attacks upon our 



invasion forces. Stoppage of enemy- rail and 
road movement toward the battle area was so 
effective as to cause the German High Command, 
first, to abandon use of the principal highways 
and, later, all movement during daylight hours. 

Hadar- assisted ground control was imposs- 
ible at the distance our fighters operated from 
England. So was radio contact with our con- 
trollers, except through airborne relays. 
British Ground Control Interception radar was 
always available to our ground fighter control, 
but was effective only within approximately 
100 miles of the English coast. British "Type 
16" radar increased this range slightly and was 
more accurate, but still possessed only limited 
range. Microwave Early Warning became avail- 
able to Eighth Air Force in the summer of I9M+, 
but not until late November of that year, when 
it was moved to Gulpen, Holland, was ground 
control in depth possible. 

On November 27th, XSkk-, ten fighter groups 
were assigned to attack airfields in North- 
central Germany under Microwave Early Warning 
control. Five other groups were escorting 
small bomber forces in the Frankfurt area. From 
"Y" Service it was learned that the Hun contr- 
ollers, after plotting the bomber assembly over 
East Anglia, mistook the incoming force of F-U/fi 
and P-51's for four-engine bombers. The day 
before, our bomber penetration over the same 
northern route had evoked strong enemy fighter 
reaction. Again the Luftwaffe rose in maximum 
effort. Only this time the enemy encountered 
a hornets' hest of fighters, while the heavies, 
completely unmolested, attacked targets in 
southwest Germany. Skillful vectoring by 
Microwave Early Warning, plus the enemy' s fatal 
mistake, resulted in claims of 98-^-11 out of 



250 - 350 German fighters engaged. Three P-51's 
were lost to a decidedly unaggressive enemy. 
Nor did these air battles prevent our fighters 
from completing their strafing and bombing with 
notable success. 

By January I9U5 impromptu strafing was 
forbidden because the fighter losses incurred 
were not worth the few targets available. In 
the last 30 days of the war„ however, the 
fading, fuel-less Luftwaffe was so concentrated 
in its few remaining airfields as to provide 
ideal conditions for specific strafing missions. 
Ground claims for the month of April reached 
the enormous total of 1791-0-1073. 

Strafing Technique 

These astonishing results were achieved 
by a technique which, with variations from 
group to group, was basically this: 

The attacking group would come In on the 
deck to avoid detection and flak, nulling up to 
1,000 feet about a mile from the target. The 
first squadron would continue to climb, and then 
circle the airfield at 3,500 feet to provide top - 
cover. The second squadron would strafe gun 
emplacements and anti-aircraft batteries. The 
third or rear squadron would attack airfield 
installations and parked aircraft. 

The second squadron would then relieve the 
first as top cover. This would enable the 
latter to go down and strafe those installations 
untouched by the second and third. Upon order, 
from the air commander all squadrons would 
escape at deck level to reform at a briefed 
rally point. 



STRAFING 

FIRST STAGE of STRAFING 
AN ENEMY A/D 



DIAGRAM 5 
(Parti) 



1st squadron afford 
cover by circling 

A/D AT 3,500' 



1ST SQUADRON 




2nd SQUADRON 



2nd SQUADRON 

ATTACK GUN 
EMPLACEMENTS 




^ ^NJtrfT EMPLACEMENTS^ 



57 



STRAFING 



SECOND STAGE of STRAFING 
AN ENEMY A/D 



DIAGRAM 5 
(Part 2) 



1st SQUADRON 

CONTINUES TO 

CIRCLE A/D 



I ST SQUADRON 




3rd SQUADRON 




3rd SQUADRON 

ATTACK A/D 

INSTALLATIONS 



58 



STRAFING 



THIRD STAGE of STRAFING 
AN ENEMY A/D 



DIAGRAM 5 
(Part 3) 



2nd SQUADRON AFFORD 

COVER TO 1st SQUADRON 

BY CIRCLING A/D AT 3,500' 




'ST SQUADRO 




1st squadron; 

attack a/d' 

installations 



3rd SQUADRON 
PROCEED TO 
RALLY POINT 



59 



FIGHTER BOMBING 



The use of high-altitude-escort fighter 
aircraft for fighter bombing was pioneered by- 
Eighth Air Force. After much training and 
practice, during which experience of the 
individual pilot had to compensate for the 
absence of dive brakes and proper bomb sights, 
two P-l+7 groups flew a coordinated mission. 

On 25 November I9U3, the 56th Group, 
forming behind a B-2k, dropped 10.75 tons from 
2*000 feet on an airdrome at St. Omer in the 

Pas de Calais. 

Then the 353rd Group, diving from 1^,000 
feet, released 3.5 tons at g.000 feet on the 
same target. 

Fighter bombing continued with varying 
success against airfields and transportation 
targets, but it never became a major activity 
of the Eighth because not enough time was 
available from escort duty to permit adequate 
training. 



During the Normandy beach-head period, 
P-^7 groups consistently dive bombed road and 
rail opportunity targets. And from the fall 
of 19^*+ on, intermittent attacks were made on 
enemy airfields and railroad bridges by P-3S's 
and P-51's as well as P-l+7's. However, dive 
bombing forays against airfields had only 
nuisance value; those against railroad bridges 
were on the whole unsatisfactory. Neither 
evoked much opposition from the Luftwaffe. 

By modifying some of the P~3?5' s to allow 
carrying of a bombardier and bomb sight, a 
high level bombing technique called *Droop 
Snoot" was developed.- The 20th and 55th Grouns 
first undertook "Droop Snoot" on 10 April I9M+, 
dropping a total of 27 tons on Gutersloh and 
Coulommiers airfields with very satisfactory 
results. Heavy flak was the most dangerous 
enemy threat to this type of fighter bombing, 
but with practice a loose formation could be 
flown to the start of the bomb run, then tight- 
ened for only 30 seconds until all aircraft 
dropped on the "Droop Snoot". 



Bombs away! was the signal to break up the 
formation. Because of the compact formation 
on the bomb run a tight bomb pattern resulted. 

Low-level skip bombing was also tried. 
Bombs or partially filled wing tanks were 
skipped against enemy targets. The tanks were 
then kindled by incendiary ammunition from 
succeeding flights, but the high degree of 
skill necessary for the delicate timing of 
this operation was difficult to acquire in the 
time available. So success varied. 

Losses from fighter bombing were proport- 
ionately more severe than those suffered on 
regular escort missions. Enemy light flak, 
automatic weapons and small arms fire from the 
well-defended objectives, shot down valuable 
pilots previously unscathed in aerial combat. 
This fact', plus the eventual shift to the more 
vulnerable P-51. resulted in the decision to 
abandon fighter bombing except in rare 
instances. 



60 



CHAPTER H 

BOMBING 



61 



BOMBING 



During operations over Nazi-occupied 
Europe, the Eighth Air Force bombed 1575 tar- 
gets in twelve countries. 

This impact - coupled with that of the 
Royal Air Force, the Fifteenth Air Force, and 
all the Tactical Air Forces - shattered the 
German war potential; it was a major factor in 
the; swift advance of Allied armies through the 
Reich. It is interesting to note that Rund- 
stedt placed Allied air superiority as the 
number one reason for Germany's defeat. Next 
in order, he placed destruction- of the oil 
industry, in which the Eighth Air Force played 
the major part, and dislocation of Germany's 
transportation system by bomber and fighter- 
bomber attacks, in which the Eighth Air Force 
played an important role. 

Reiohminister of Armament and War Pro- 
duction Albert Speer confirms this with 
admissions of the telling effect of daylight 
precision bombing upon German industry; the 
fuel shortage which seriously hampered opera- 
tions of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe; the 
breakdown of the transportation system which 
made it impossible to deliver produced arma- 
ments to those spots where they were needed 
most. 

Thus, in its first great trial, it was 
demonstrated, and the Germans confirm that day- 
light precision bombing had met the test. Met 
the test despite many limitations to the 
application of the bombing effort. 'What were 
the factors responsible for these limitations 
and how did they affect the overall accomplish- 
ments of this Air Force? 

Targets and Capabilities 

The decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
to invade Italy slowed up the development of 
the Eighth Air Force. Until the end of 1943, 
the delivery rate of new bomb groups and re- 
placement aircraft to Eighth Air Force was well 
behind schedule. Such retarded expansion was 
accentuated by the relatively small load per 
bomber. 

It was not possible to achieve the depth 
of penetration desired in the fulfillment of 
our target commitments before 1944. We were 
limited by the size and range of our escort 



force relative to the strength of enemy 
opposition. By venturing too far beyond escort 
range, we suffered such heavy losses that it 
was necessary to bomb shallow targets for a 
period thereafter. 

Weather , also had its limiting effect. Up 
to 1944, the necessity for visual bombing con- 
ditions severely restricted the number of days 
when base, route, and target weather favored 
bombing missions. Early in 1944 sufficient 
overcast bombing equipment had arrived to in- 
crease the number of missions flown. But over- 
cast conditions still limited the selection of 
targets to those recognizable with the new 
equipment. 

Flak was an omnipresent hazard. In the 
Ruhr, for example, the huge concentration of 
anti-aircraft guns made visual bombing very 
costly. For that reason, a few valuable pre- 
cision targets which might have been hit there 
visually were seldom bombed. Furthermore, the 
Royal Air Force hammered the Ruhr at night with 
great bomb tonnages, destroying areas which 
the Eighth could not attack until overcast 
techniques became more reliable. 

3efore, during, and after D-Day, tactical 
bombing absorbed a great part of our effort. 
Huge tonnages were expended in attacks on 
marshalling yards, bridges and airfields 
adjacent to the battle areas, as well as in 
direct cooperation with our ground troops. 

In summary, then, the depth of penetrati6n 
possible, weather, flak and tactical bombing, 
imposed great limitations on the fulfillment 
of target commitments. 

Accuracy 

Accuracy achieved during operational 
training in the United States fell off consider- 
ably after groups began to bomb enemy targets 
under combat conditions. Five factors contri- 
buted to this falling off (1) navigation to and 
identification of the Initial Point (2) forma- 
tion bombing (3) combat conditions (4) target 
recognition (5) nature of the bomb run. 

In the United States, bombardiers had been 
trained to bomb on individual runs for accuracy. 
Kow the necessary emphasis on defense required 



bombing in formation with a resultant reduction 
in bombing accuracy. In order to improve this 
situation, many changes were made in the 
formations flown. The first significant change 
was to bomb by formation with the leader sight- 
ing for range and deflection while the wing 
men sighted independently for range. Later, 
the entire formation bombed as a unit with only 
the leader sighting. 

Early in the war, the tendency was to 
drop with a large formation. Gradually, 
smaller and smaller formations were adopted 
(Chapter I). For visual attacks the final 
result was squadron bombing. For overcast 
attacks, the nature of the target, enemy 
opposition, and the availability of overcast 
bombing equipment determined the formation 
size . 

Bomb patterns were improved by varying 
the shape of the formation. The tendency was 
to get more and more compact squadrons in 
order to obtain a denser bomb pattern. 

Eoth flak and enemy fighters reduced the 
accuracy of our bombardiers compared to train- 
ing standards. Harassing attacks by enemy 
aircraft made it difficult to concentrate on 
bombing. If the lead bombardier was shot dovn, 
the deputy aircraft would have to take over in 
a minimum of time under heavy pressure. This 
mental hazard coupled with the inefficiency of 
operating under oxygen and heavy personal 
equipment, were definite disadvantages. The 
accuracy of enemy anti-aircraft fire normally 
required our formations to bomb from heights 
around 25,000 feet despite the fact that bomb- 
ing accuracy decreased in direct proportion to 
altitude. Early experiments with bombing from 
7,500 and 8,000 feet resulted in such heavy 
flak losses that, as a rule, the Eighth Air 
Force never thereafter bombed heavily defended 
targets from low altitude. 

because of poor visibility, and location 
in built-up areas, targets were harder to 
recognize over Europe than practice targets in 
the United States. On many targets, recogni- 
tion was nearly impossible. Not only did the 
bombardiers have to contend with clever camou- 
flage and thick smoke screens thrown up by the 
enemy, but often the dust and smoke from our 
own bombing hid targets from units arriving 



62 




Chart A* During operations over Nati-oooupied Europe, 
the Eighth Air Force dropped a grand total of 
696,450 tons on 1,575 targets. The above chart 
shows the tonnage dropped each month on various 
types of targets. 



Chart B. The above chart shows the percentage of visual 
and overcast bombing for each month, and the 
accuracy of visual bombing in terms of the per- 
centage of bombs dropped within 1,000 and 2,000 
foot oircles around the targets attacked. 



bombing (cont'd) 



later. 

The direction of the bomb run was frequents 
ly an adverse factor to bombing accuracy. Was 
the sun in the right position for the run? 
Could the direotion of the wind enable forma- 
tions to race aoross flak defenses with 
minimum hazard in spite of the faot tlat down- 



wind bombing reduced accuracy compared to 
up-wind? That had to be weighed against the 
favorable fact that down -wind bombing blew 
away dust and smoke from oncoming units. 

The exact direction of target attack was 
usually a compromise between wind -direction 
(both surface and at altitude), position of 



the sun, location of the heaviest anti-aircraft 
defenses, pattern of smoke screens, target 
identification features, and the routings and 
headings of the other units or forces. 

This compromise, plus navigation and 
traffic problems, explains why bombing accuracy 
under combat conditions was necessarily less 
than on practice runs in the United States. 



63 



OVERCAST BOMBING 



GENERAL STATEMENT 



Weather in this theater was the most 
important limiting factor in operations when 
the Eighth Air Force began to fly from England. 
To begin with, we were grounded four out of 
every five days because visual bombing con- 
ditions were lacking. There was great need to 
find some means to utilize non-visual days . 

Much thought had already been spent on 
this problem in the United States. Some pro- 
ceedures had been devised. The British had 
experimented with radar to locate targets 
through cloud with limited success. Their 
device was called E2S and, with it bodies of 
water could be distinguished from land, and 
cities could be found. But pinpoint targets 
were impossible to locate. 

The Eighth Air Force experimented with 
British H2S. It was a distinct aid to navi- 
gation over cloud but was not nearly selective 
enough for accurate bombing. As a result of 
experimentation, an American device was 
produced, called K2X. This was an improvement 
over H2S but still was incapable of distin- 
guishing small targets. But H2X soon increased 
our capabilities to a marked degree. 

There were some targets of an industrial 
nature each of which was situated at the side 
of a large city. The city could be located on 
the H2X scope. By approaching the city from 
the appropriate direction, the target could be 
bombed by aid of its known distance and 
direction from the center of the city. Some- 
times a huge industrial plant would make a 
"blip" of its own on the scope which could be 
distinguished from the main "blip" made by the 
city. 

Other targets might be located on a shore 



line. If the shore were irregular in shape so 
that a landmark would appear in the scope, the 
landmark would aid in locating the target. 

In general, H2X could not locate the 
average pinpoint target, but it could locate 
enough area targets through the overcast to 
increase our capability of bombing to a marked 
degree. In addition, it was of great value in 
locating targets on visual days by aiding in 
the finding of check points and correcting 
navigation over cloud on the way to the target . 

A great advantage of H2X is the fact that 
it is self-contained on the. aircraft. This 
only limits the range of its utility to the 
range of the airoraft. Many other navigational 
and bombing devices are "tied" to ground 
transmitting stations which send out the radar 
pulses which actuate the scopes in the aircraft. 
Since radar rays travel in a "line of sight", 
they gain in altitude over the ground as the 
distance from the station results in more and 
more curvature of the earth. Hence, radar 
ground stations can only reach aircraft at 
greater altitudes with greater distances from 
the transmitting station. 

Adaptation of another British navigational 
instrument resulted in the American navigation 
device called Gee-H. Its scope was actuated by 
two ground transmitting stations. With this 
device the aircraft could know its own location 
over the ground with more or less accuracy, 
depending on the distance from the transmitting 
stations. Techniques were developed to use 
this navigation device for bombing. Marked 
success resulted, even in bombing small targets. 

Another instrument, called Micro-H, was 
devised along similar lines but was more 



accurate than Gee-H. It was limited in range 
to around 170 miles from the transmitting sta- 
tions when the airoraft was at 20,000 feet, and 
200 miles when at 25,000 feet. With proper 
techniques, this device was found to have 
several advantages over Gee-H. 

The accuracy of bombing by Gee-H and 
Micro-H continued to improve as crews became 
better trained and more experienced. The small 
supply of equipment was a limiting factor in 
their use. But techniques of bombing-on-the- 
leader permitted the few instruments to give 
capability of bombing through the overoast to 
a large number of airoraft. 

During the war with Germany, Gee-H and 
Micro-H never attained the accuracy of visual 
bombing. But their use greatly increased our 
operating capabilities within their range. 
When territory on the Continent of Europe could 
be used, transmitting station sites there gave 
Gee-H and Micro-H sufficient range to reach 
important targets in Germany. 

By the use of all three devices, H2X, 
Gee-H and Mioro-H, we were able to operate on a 
high percentage of days instead of the few 
which would permit visual bombing, and targets 
suitable for each type of device could be hit 
with a profitable percentage of bombs. Also, 
they permitted us to initiate an operation for 
overcast bombing, only to discover upon arrival 
at the target that oloud had unexpectedly 
cleared. This would permit us to bomb visually 
on a day which otherwise would have been lost. 

An important additional advantage of over- 
cast bombing was the factor of loss. The cost 
to our force in aircraft lost, both to enemy 
fighters and to flak, was constantly much lower 
on overcast days than it was in clear weather. 



I. H2X 



On D-Day, overcast covered the invasion 
beaches. Yet Eighth Air Force bombed its 
targets successfully without hitting the ships 
close to the beaoh or the troops inland. They 
did it by H2X. 

H2X is airborne radar. It transmits high 
frequency electrical impulses downward through 
a revolving antenna. These impulses are re- 
flected back to the antenna by various objects 
on the earth. The H2X set converts these 
reflected impulses into light patterns on the 
scope of the set. By matching these patterns 
with scope photographs of the actual invasion 
coast, the bombers were able to hit their 
narrow target with satisfactory results. 

Months of experimentation, training, and 
combat experience achieved that D-Day bombing 
success. Back in June 1943, twelve hand-made 
H2X sets were installed in B-17s as navigation 
aids. The first actual bombing mission was 
flown the following October. But not until 
February 1944 did the first production sets 
arrive. In April, in a special school at 
Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, began the first 
theater training of operations for H2X bombing. 
Outstanding navigators attended this four weeks 
course which later enrolled H2X operators who 
had received previous training at Langley and 
Boca Raton in the United States. While these 
men learned to operate the sets. Group Intelli- 
gence Officers busied themselves with the 
theory and practice of H2X and the interpre- 
tation and plotting of scope photographs. 

By April 1944 serious thought was given to 
improving H2X bombing accuracy through the use 
of the Norden bomb sight and the automatic 
pilot in conjunction with the H2X set. Tables 
were prepared for converting distance into 
sighting angles for the bomb sight. Eventually 
the sighting angles were added to the H2X com- 
putor drum. Now the H2X operator could furnish 
the bombardier with data on ground speed, drift, 
and distance for every mile until the aircraft 
was within four to five miles of the target. 
Without further correction the bombsight did 
the rest, releasing the bombs when the indices 
met. 

On a completely visual day the E2X operator 
could set course and get the bombsight approxi- 
mately synchronized at a greater distance from 
the target than the bombardier could with his 
sight. In a partial overcast the K2X operator 
could continue to direct the bombsight settings 
until the bombardier took over with a last 
minute visual sighting and made minor adjust- 
ments . 



The coordination method is also the best 
for bombing through a complete overcast. A 
number of check points are chosen along bhe 
penetration route. As the aircraft flies over 
each one, the H2X operator identifies them in 
his scope and transmits the data to the bom- 
bardier who makes the necessary adjustments in 
his bombsight. When the aircraft is about 
twelve miles from the target the H2X operator 
transmits a final check. Now the aircraft is 
moving toward the target along a definite track. 
The bombardier transposes these computations 
into a dropping angle which is set in the bomb- 
sight. When the indices meet, the bombs release 
automatically. If a break in the clouds occurs, 
a visual sighting at the last minute is possible 
and minor corrections can be made. 

This was the technique used on D-Day. 
Eighteen to thirty-six aircraft were flown 
abreast with the H2X aircraft in the center of 
the formation. H2X operators carried maps and 
scope photographs of the invasion coast. Long 
familiarization with vertical and scope photo- 
graphs of the English and French coast lines 
enabled them to identify the shipping and 
shore-line patterns in their H2X scopes. 

These photographs had been taken by K-24 
cameras installed at the remote scope of the 
H2X set. All negatives were developed by the 
325th Photographic Wing Reconnaissance at 
Eighth Air Force Headquarters. The best prints 
were then redistributed to all H2X groups which 
compiled a basic list of photographs for use in 
briefing, interrogation, target study, and 
navigation. In December 1944 it was decided to 
replace K-24 cameras with 16 millimeter motion 
picture cameras. 



The Oxford Experiment . 

The success of D-Day raised the question 
as to whether it was possible to pick out a 
precision target in a built-up area and bomb it 
with satisfactory accuracy by .H2X. Such a 
mission was prepared against an oil refinery in 
Bremen on 24 June 1944. Scope photographs of 
the area showed that the location of the re- 
finery could be established by the shape of the 
built-up area. Although the operation was not 
a complete suocess, photographic reconnaissance 
showed that several wings, which did bomb as 
briefed, dropped good tight patterns close to 
the target. This demonstrated that it was 
possible to locate an assigned area within a 
town, rather than aiming for the center of the 
town. Synchronous bombing technique made this 
possible. By lining up bomber formations at a 



much further distance from the target than 
formerly, bombsights could be approximately 
synchronized before the bombardiers could pick 
up the target visually. In this way a tighter 
pattern was obtained with less chance of error. 

In August and September 1944, two B-17 
combat crews, simulating combat conditions, 
used the synchronous bombing technique in 
practice bombing runs on two targets in Oxford - 
the center of the city and an industrial plant 
on its edge. The purpose of the test was (1) 
to determine the capabilities of H2X equipment 
under these controlled conditions so as to 
provide a realistic standard of performance to 
strive for under combat conditions, and (2) to 
isolate causes of error which are dependent on 
combat conditions. 

Assessment of results obtained on 310 
bombing runs made at 18,000 and 25,000 feet 
with a bombing run of 28 miles led to these 
outstanding conclusions: 

(1) H2X can be used with a reasonable 
degree of success against city areas 
or isolated industrial complexes. 

(2) Average bombing errors bear little 
relation to the inherent capability 
of the H2X set. 

(3) Chance of hitting an industrial 
target within the built-up area of 
a city with any reasonable bombing 
force is extremely slight. 

(4) The degree of accuracy obtained in 
practice bombing cannot be expected 
in combat bombing. 



Type of target, altitude, ground speed, 
target study, adjustments and calibrations of 
equipment, synchronization and setting and 
personnel performances were listed as the out- 
standing factors affecting the accuracy of H2X 
bombing. 

In the combat missions that followed it 
was found that one out of every four H2X 
sightings proved to be ineffective because of 
H2X equipment failures. Moreover, there was a 
striking correlation between the degree of 
cloud cover on the bombing run and bombing 
errors. Even a small break in the clouds 
enabled the bombardier to synchronize his 
bombsight with considerable accuracy, and thus 
improve the bomb pattern. 



65 



H2X is airborne radar. It transmits high frequency 
electrical impulses through a revolving antenna. These 
impulses are reflected back to the antenna by various 
objects. The H2X set converts these reflected impulses 
in to light on the "scope" of the set as shown at the 
right. 

The direction in which the antenna points determines 
the bearing of a reflecting object, while the time interval 
between transmission and reception of the impulse determines 
its range. The pattern made on the scope indicates the 
distance and bearing of the reflecting object from the 
aircraft. 

The diagram below shows various types of reflecting 
surfaces, and the comparative intensity of the reflection 
returned by each. 




Coastline 









Open Country 






A 



°*&> 



mniiiniummiHir ■»—— — t dflwatft. 1— 






% 



>« 



-S'v 
•'■n 



V, 



'<%* 



^^^ 



%, 



°%, 






1 i i 









^ 



<y. 



,% 



v,> 



**&?•*» ' 



<sy 









^ ft, ^ V A 



Corner Reflection 



<*> 



'** ?*>. %' 



**. 










M& "■ 



*« 






Rays emerge parallel to 
entrance . 



W 7 ^ 






'4;.,, 



'■*•»: 






, ^ < * 



^p 



°4 



°^f^s 



"^ 



BOMBING 



As in all bombing, the two primary considerations 
in H2X bombing are deflection and range. 



DEFLECTION 



Track Line - 



Lubber Line 



Lubber line indicates 
heading of the aircraft. 
The track line indicates 
the actual path of the 
aircraft over the ground. 
When xhe target travels 
along the track line, the 
aircraft will cross the 
target. Since a released 
bomb will continue along 
this line, the track of 
the aircraft must cross 
the target. Corrections 
to meet this condition 
must ba started approx- 
imately 40 miles from the 
target and completed. 
before the aircraft is 
12 miles from the target. 



RANGE 




Due to forward travel of bomb after release, the release 
point must occur on the track line before the aircraft 
reaches the target. This distance is computed by the 
bombardier, and transposed into a dropping angle which 
is set into the bomb sight. 

Altitude and distance to the target (AB and AG in 
the drawing above) are measured by the H2X operator. 
The ratio between these distances determines the sighting 
angle (angle of tilt of bombsight telescope). 

Periodic measurements are made by the H2X operator, 
and mechanically converted into sighting angles* which 
are used to check the synchronization of the bombsight. 
With this procedure, the bombsight telescope is always 
on the target. If a break in the clouds occurs, the 
bombardier can then take over for a visual sighting, and 
only minor corrections will be necessary. 



67 



„./>•.. 




* CHIEVRES 

50"30'N j >^~ 






v t 



x^ 




1-\ 



^) 



The illustration above shows the relation between an H2X scope 
presentation and corresponding points on a map. 

The picture presented by th« scope is actually a radar map of 
the terrain below the aircraft within 15 to 100 miles range, with 
the center of the scope representing the position of the aircraft. 

Three alternate methods of determining this position for 
navigational purposes are based on: 

1. Distance from the center of the scope to 
two landmarks. 

2. Bearing from the center of the scope to 
two landmarks. 

3. Distance and bearing from the center of the 
scope to one landmark. 



68 



% SERVICEABILITY OVER 
TARGET OF H 2 X DURING 1944 



SORTIES AND EFFECTIVE 

SORTIES FLOWN BY H 2 X 

DURING 1944 



2000 



1760 



ISOO 



1250 



1000 



750 



500 



250 



SORTIES 
EFFECTIVE SORTIES 



J 



* 



■*V 



iM 



# 



NUMBER OF BOMBARDMENT 

GROUPS EQUIPPED WITH 

H t X DURING 1944 



100% 



90% 



40 




Average serviceability 
for 1944 88% 



fImIaImIjIjIaisIoInId f m a m j j a s o n o f m a m j j a s o nd 



69 



2. GEE-H 



The 28 January 1944 was a cloudy day. 
B-24s of the 93rd Bombardment Group moved up 
through the overcast, bound for Bonnieres, 
France. Their targets were flying bomb in- 
stallations located behind the invasion coast. 

Over the English Channel, navigators on 
ships with Gee-H airborne equipment flicked on 
their receivers and transmitters. Immediately 
the transmitters sent out pulses which 
"triggered" or actuated all Gee-H ground sta- 
tions within a range of 200 miles. The 
answering pulses returned on another frequency 
to the Gee-H receiver in the plane where they 
were translated by the cathode ray tube into 
pips on the scope. 

One of the pips represented the distance 
from the "cat" or range station; the other 
the distance from the "mouse" or releasing 
station. First the navigator watched the 
"cat" pip. Each pilot was holding his B-24 
on a course along the arc of a circle cutting 
the target, and the center of that circle was 
the location of the "cat" station. If the 
B-24 got off course the navigator corrected 
the pilot after checking the "cat" range. 

The navigator flicked a switch on his 
scope. Instantly the position of the "mouse" 
pip was calibrated in Gee-H units. Beside 
the navigator were a series of pre-determined 
check-points computed at Eighth Air Force 
Headquarters by trained Gee-H experts. These 
check points were also in Gee-H units. By 
comparing the calibrations on the scope with 
the data furnished by higher Headquarters, the 
navigator checked his progress toward the 
warning point. 

Both the navigator and bombardier knew in 
advance that after the aircraft reached this 
final check-point, a timed run would be 
necessary, at the end of which the bombs would 
be released. The length of this timed run was 
a figure in seconds computed by the navigator 
from "warning period" tables based on the true 
altitude, ground speed, and type of bomb. This 
figure was transmitted to the bombardier. 

As the B-2^ approached the "warning point" 
the navigator kept his eye on the "mouse" pip. 
The minute it reached the pre-determined range 




GEE-H SCOPE JUST BEFORE "BOMBS AWAY" 

"The answering pulses were translated.... 
by the cathode ray tube into pips on the scope. 
One of the pips represented the distance from 
the "cat" or range station; the other the 
distance from the "mouse" or releasing station". 



he called to the bombardier, "Check!" Now the 
B-2U began its timed run for the target. The 
bombardier carried a stop watch. At the com- 
pletion of the timed run, he released the bombs. 

Until after D-Day almost all Gee-H missions 
were attacks on V-weapon sites, usually by small 
forces led by less than a dozen Gee-H equipped 
aircraft. From January to June igl+l+, 31 Gee-H 
missions were flown. 

After D-Day, the scale of Gee-H operations 
suddenly expanded. Airfields, bridges, marshall- 
ing yards, crossbow sites, road junctions, 
supply depots, etc., were attacked. Between 
10 June and 21 June, approximately 3,000 
sorties bombed on Gee-H lead aircraft, as many 
as twenty different targets being attacked 
simultaneously. 

"While these summer operations continued, 
the Operational Analysis Section of Eighth Air 
Force Headquarters engaged in a study to refine 



the "cat and mouse" technique. By mid-September 
this resulted in a method which synchronized the 
bombs ight at each check-point instead of waiting 
jill the final warning point. 

Now before the bombers were airborne, both 
navigator and bombardier received "teletyped 
data containing a series of check-points, com- 
puted to a high degree of precision. The 
navigator's data was listed in Gee-H units; the 
bombardier's in corresponding sighting angles. 
When the navigator calibrated his position at 
each check-point, he telephoned the bombardier 
and said, "Check-point 1, check-point 2, etc." 
Immediately the bombardier checked his corres- 
ponding sighting angle and adjusted it into the 
bombsight. The plane continued along the pre- 
scribed course until the bombsight automatically 
dropped the load. 

Gee-H experts at Headquarters computed the 
course and target data from distances and bear- 
ings of the ground stations from selected 
aiming points. These precise distances and 
bearings were figured for the Eighth Air Force 
by the Air Warfare Analysis Service, a British 
organization specializing in such work. Gee-H 
equipment was actually a British development 
for navigation. Experimentation converted it 
into a bombing aid. 

Gee-H operations were resumed in late 
September 1944 when the British installed 
ground stations at advanced sites on the 
Continent, giving coverage beyond the Ruhr. 
The 2nd Air Division was now using the new 
synchronized bomb-sight technique, but the 
1st Air Division continued with the warning 
point system. 

Both these methods were employed in the 
first Gee-H large-scale tactical mission 
against forts in the Metz area on 9 November 
1944, which the Army considered very success- 
ful. Again Gee-H was profitably employed in 
tactical bombing at Eschweiler on 16 November 
1944, when two of the three areas attacked were 
assigned to Gee-H. 

By December, with the continued expansion 
of Gee-E bombing, all navigators were trained 
in the bombsight technique and the warning 
point system was no longer used. 



70 



3. MICRO-H 



Duo to the nature of the areas to he 'bombed 
"by overcast methods, target identification 
difficulties with standard H2X equipment in- 
creased. So a technique of overcast bombing 
was introduced to improve the accuracy of H2X. 
This improvement was called Micro-H. It applied 
the "cat and mouse" principle of Gee-H to the 
H2X scope. 

Once airborne, the force navigated by Gee 
to the Initial Point, about 35 miles from the 
target. Here the navigator turned on his H2X 
scope to "beacon". Instantly the scope received 
pulses from two Micro-H stations transmitting on 
assigned frequencies from installations near 
Namur, Belgium, and Verdun, France. The ranges 
of these stations were represented by two bright 
white dots, both approximately equi-di stent from 
the center of the scope. If they were not, the 
navigator corrected the pilot's course accord- 
ingly so that the aircraft moved along the Gee-H 
course toward the start of the bomb run. 

As in the case of Gee-H, Micro-H experts at 
Eighth Air Force Headquarters computed a series 
of check points for the navigator with corres- 
ponding sighting angles for the bombardier. When 
the aircraft began its bomb run about ten miles 
from the target the navigator set his firBt 
check point on the scope in the form of a range 
circle. Then as the aircraft moved toward the 
target the two white dots moved simultaneously 
toward the circumference of the range circle. 



The moment they touched it the navigator warned 
the bombardier, "Check 1". Immediately the 
latter synchronized his bombsight to include 
the corresponding sighting angle. Subsequently, 
each check-point along the bomb run was synchro- 
nized into the bomb-sight until the aircraft 
reached the release point. 

Micro-H operations over Germany began on 
1 November 19^ after intensive preliminary 
work. Radar operators and bombardiers of all 
three Divisions received a thorough course in 
training and several practice missions were run 
in England. Only 3rd Air Division eventually 
bombed on Micro-H. However, all three Divisions 
trained because Gee-H, used by 1st and 2nd 
Divisions, operated on the same frequency range 
as Gee, which had already been jammed quite 
successfully by the enemy. Nullification of 
Gee-H by jamming would have found all three 
Divisions prepared on Micro-H, which could not 
be janmed. Fortunately this never happened. 

Whereas Gee-H stations were manned by 
British personnel and portions of the data 
computed by them, Micro-H was primarily an 
Eighth Air Force service. Personnel manning 
the beacon stations came from Alconbury. 
Targets were pin-pointed by our 325th Photo- 
graphic Reconnaissance Wing, and computations 
made entirely by Micro-H experts at Eighth Air 
Force Headquarters. 



The original Micro-H technique had three 
inherent restrictions - range, target handling 
capacity, and course. Only ranges within ISO 
miles of the beacons were feasible, and because 
of the course, forces could bomb but one target 
at a time, being limited to two avenues of 
approach - inbound and outbound. Where flak 
or wind direction threatened to interfere with 
the course, Micro-H was impracticable. 

Range limitations continued, but target 
handling capacity and course restrictions were 
solved by the introduction of the "cat and 
mouse" technique used so successfully in Gee-H 
bombing. Now the two white dots on the H2X 
scope represented the "cat" or tracking station 
and the "mouse" or releasing station. 

As in Gee-H, four target approaches were 
possible. Only now any number of targets could 
be attacked. The beacons were set up so that 
different "cat" ranges for tracking could be 
given to each force while using separate "mouse" 
check points on which to release. This made 
the whole system more flexible because beacons 
were no longer tied down with a timed delay 
calculated for one specific target only. 

"Cat and mouse" Micro-H bombing began on 
18 December I9U4. Most of the 38 attacks by 
Micro-H employed this more flexible technique 
which was enhanced by the installation of 
another beacon at Nijmegen in January I9H5. 



71 



VISUAL AND OVERCAST BOMBING 
PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF EIGHTH AIR FORCE BOMBS 

I SEPTEMBER 1944— 31 DECEMBER 1944 (exclusive of three attacks in close coordination with ground forces) 



DISTRIBUTION WITHIN O TO I MILEOFAIMINC POINTS 



DISTRIBUTION WITHIN O TO 5 MILES OF AIMING POINTS 



IOO 
90 

D 

0- 80 

2 

"70 

<0 

2 

° 60 

_j 
_i 

5 so 

§! 

if 40 

z 

o 

6 30 
> 20 



EACH CURVE SHOWS THE DISTRIBUTION 
OF ALL BOMBS DROPPED BY ONE OF 
SEVEN CATEGORIES OF BOMBING 

EACH CURVE WAS CALCULATED FROM 
THE MEASURED DISTRIBUTION OF 
PATTERN CENTERS 



*.**- 




^johoj.^^11 






.3 .4 .5 .6 .7 .8 

DISTANCE FROM THE AIMING POINT IN MILES 




EACH CURVE SHOWS THE DISTRI BUTION 
OF ALL BOMBS DROPPED BY ONE OF 
SEVEN CATEGORIES OF BOMBING 

EACH CURVE WAS CALCULATE FROM 
THE MEASURED DISTRIBUTION OF 
PATTERN CENTERS 



2 3 

DISTANCE FROM THE AIMING POINT IN MILES 



4. COMPARISON OF BOMBING ACCURACY FOR H2X, GEE-H , MICRQ-H AND VISUAL BOMBING. 



While the above charts compare the accuracy attained when bombing visually with 
bombing by instruments, this is not really a fair comparison. Bombing through the 
overcast is not an alternative method to visual bombing. It represents a direct 
addition to capability by permitting bombing when visual sighting is impossible. 

H2X is a valuable means of bombing specially selected large area targets which 
can be located by the H2X radar scope. It is also of great value in correcting navi- 
gation on partially overcast days so that the bombing force may line up correctly for 
a visual run. 

Gee-H and Micro -H permit reasonably accurate bombing of pin-point targets within 
their range when the more accurate visual sighting cannot be used. 

All types of overcast bombing made possible additional visual bombing since the 
forces would go out prepared to bomb either way should the target be cloud -covered. 
If the clouds would clear briefly, a visual run would be made. 



72 



CHART SHOWING, BY MONTHS, THE NUMBER OF DAYS ON WHICH TARGETS WERE ATTACKED 

BY 
EIGHTH AIR FORCE HEAVY BOMBERS 



(A) VISUALLY - 
(B)BY H g X - 

(C) BY GEE H - 

(D) BY MICRO H - 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



NOTE:- Since more than one technique is often used in one day, 
the total of days on which each technique was used, 
often exceeds the "Total Number of Operational Days" 
for a given month. 



Dd 



I AUG. SEPT OCT. NOV. DEC. 
K 1942 



JAN. FEB. MAR. APR. MAY JUN. JULY AUG. SEPT. OCT. NOV. DEC. 
< 1943— 



* OBOE 



li 



1 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



JAN. FEB. MAR. APR. MAY JUN. JULY AUG. SEPT. OCT NOV. DEC. 
* — 1944 • 



73 



CHAPTER ISL 

TARGETS 



75 



TARGETS 



America's air strategy in the European 
Theater -was two-foldi it was, first, to defeat 
the German Air Force, and then "to weaken the 
German military, economic and industrial 
capacity to wage war" in preparation for a 
ground invasion. To prepare for invasion, 
Germany's war capability had to be reduced to 
the level of our calculated capability for 
invasion. The prime condition needed was that 
Allied airpower must be able to dominate the 
skies above* the assault area. 

The invasion was accomplished without any 
serious attempt at air opposition. The beach- 
head was exploited, and the enemy was driven 
back to the Siegfried Line within six months. 
Germany's armed resistance was entirely crushed 
within ten months after D-Day. 

What part did bombing by the Eighth Air 
Force play in this rapid defeat of the mighty 
German Army? What targets were bombed, and why 
were they selected? 

The Anti -Submarine Campaign . 

Chronologically, the first major target 
assignment of the then diminutive Eighth Bomber 
Command was to attack submarine bases and sub- 
marine building facilities. It was realised 
that the results to be expected from the small 
force of bombers could not be great. But 
German submarines were making a very serious 
threat to close Britain's supply lines from 
America. If these lines were interdioted, not 
only would Britain be in a serious position for 
food and supplies, but also the planned build- 
up of American strength at British bases would 
be halted. 

The situation had become critical by the 
fall of 1942. Every available- means was mar- 
shalled to halt the submarine threat. The 
Eighth Air Force received a new priority! 
essentially it was to join in defending the 
security of supply lines, particularly those 
to the United Kingdom. 

Targets assigned were, first, five sub- 
marine bases on the Bay of Biscay, and later, 
submarine construction yards on the North Sea 
coast of Germany. 

A series of attacks was made in the fall, 
winter and spring of 19I+P-I9U3. Considerable 
damage was done to the submarine yards, 



especially at Vegesack, near Bremen. Also, 
where locks were required to hold tidal water 
up to an operating level for submarine bases in 
Western France, these locks were destroyed. 
Such submarine bases were put out of effective 
use during an important period in the anti- 
submarine war. But the pens, or submarine 
bases themselves were protected by such a 
thick cover of reinforced concrete that they 
provided a very low order of vulnerability to 
the bombs then available. 

Eighth Air Force attacks against the sub- 
marine considerably hampered the refitting of 
U-boats. A profitable contribution wasmade, 
thereby, to the defeat of the submarine menace, 
while concurrently developing tactics and 
technique for future full-scale air operations 
against Germany's war structure. 

The Defeat of the German Air Force 

The next major target assignment was to 
defeat the Luftwaffe. This became the primary 
effort .of the Eighth Air Force from June I9I+3 
until April 19V+. The target systems chosen 
for attack were: 

(1) German fighter assembly plants; 

(2) Airframe component plants (where they 
could be found) 

(3) Ball bearings; 

(k) Enemy fighters, in the air and on the 
ground. 

Airframe assembly plants were chosen for 
the major target system for bombing because, to 
begin with, production was concentrated largely 
in eight main plants which, it was estimated, 
would soon be within our capability to attack. 
Also, it was felt that the results of such 
attacks would be felt more quickly than would 
attacks on aero engine factories. 

Component plants were realised to be 
better as targets because the e f feet would be 
more lasting than would the destruction of the 
simple structures used for assembly. But com- 
ponent plants were much more numerous and 
dispersed in city areas where they were hard 
to locate in the bomb sights. They were to be 
hit wherever possible. 



Bail bearings were believed to be an 
excellent target system, the plants being hard 
to replace, and being vital to the production 
of many weapons and vehicles as well as air- 
craft. Also, the great plant at Sohweinfurt 
represented a concentration of -38 percent of 
Germany's existing productive capacity. 

The enemy fighter force included one item 
which would be virtually impossible for the 
enenry to replace within the limited time before 
invasion was scheduled - experienced pilots. 
Aircraft can be produoed in a matter of weeks 
but a pilot requires a year and a half for ade- 
quate training. Also the supply of high-grade 
pilot material was limited, and battle ex- 
perience was lost when a veteran was replaced 
by a trainee. Hence attacks on fighters in the 
air were far more valuable than on aircraft an 
the ground. 

The new target priorities Were the .im- 
portant factor in extending the demonstrated 
range of our bombers in the summer of 1943. 
Where our previous deepest penetration of enemy 
territory had been approximately 160 miles, we 
now rapidly pushed out to a penetration of over 
300 miles. Our fighter escort, however, were 
not yet capable of anything like this penetra- 
tion. Hence the bombers were required to fly 
far beyond the range of escort to reach airoraft 
factories or ball bearings. 

Since our spring attacks on Northwest 
Germany, the enemy had strongly increased hi6 
dispositions of aircraft on the Western Front 
and had begun to arm them much more heavily. 
Our few attacks in 1943 on aircraft and ball 
bearing plants being well beyond escort range, 
resulted in very heavy losses. It was apparent 
that growth of the bomber force would not 
suffice to permit the continuation of attacks 
on these targets in the face of the demonstrated 
capability of the enemy to inflict serious 
losses. A new factor was needed in our attack. 

The new factor made a timely appearance in 
the winter of 1943-1944 in the form of long- 
range escort. By February, the force of long- 
range escort had reached a site which seemed 
big enough to attempt an attack on the vital 
aircraft plants in the Leipzig area. With 
considerable evasion planned in the route, as 
an aid to our escorting force, the bombers 
attacked a series of important targets. This 
JTirst day' 8 attacks marked a turning point in 



76 



TARGETS 



the air war. For the a ire rait plant destruc- 
tion was sufficient and our fighter's 
destruction of enemy aircraft so large, that 
the winning of the air war now came within 
our capability. 

Beginning in March the Eighth Air Force 
discontinued efforts to evade enemy fighters 
in its operations. To accomplish our mission, 
we must not only bomb the aircraft factories, 
but also force enemy fighters into the air.. 
We now sought to provoke enemy fighter re- 
action. And our escort fighters proceeded to 
take heavy toll, preventing the increased 
attack from crippling our bomber force. The 
bombers added substantially to the number of 
enemy fighters accounted for. Dominance of the 
air was in sight. 

April brought new commitments to the 
Eighth Air Force. Specific targets must be hit 
to prepare for D-Day. Though enemy fighter 
aircraft assembly had been effectively hit these 
plants could be rebuilt or dispersed in two to 
four months. The new commitments prevented the 
continuance of attacks which might have held 
aircraft production down. 

But the war in the air was already won. 
The enemy had lost two irreplaceable commodi- 
ties. His supply of experienced fighter pilots 
was depleted. And some months of reduced air- 
craft production during a crucial period could 
never be replaced"! Now if he built aircraft he 
would have only inferior pilots to fly them. 
Had he had full aircraft production while his 
pilot force was strong, the winning of the war 
in the air might have been greatly protracted. 

During the latter months of this target 
program, aircraft pools and repair depots were 
attacked whenever possible when weather pre- 
vented attacks on targets of higher priority. 
But ball bearing plants, hit with some success 
in the summer and fall of 1943, .were left to a 
later date. The priorities placed by the top 
echelon engaged our full effort elsewhere until 
after D-Day. 

Now the enemy was resorting to widespread 
dispersal of his aircraft plants. Many were 
placed underground. His new jet-propelled 
aircraft began to appear and there were rumors 
of impending huge production of this potentially 
dangerous weapon. Though dispersion of plants 
and the development of underground factories 



MILLIONS OF TONS 
1.5 



0.9 



06 



ESTIMATED OIL PRODUCTION 



IN GERMAN CONTROLLED TERRITORY 



(INCLUDING GERMANY). 






-OIL PRODUCTION 



IKS 
Ilk 



-PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY STILL HELD BUT IDLE BECAUSE OF 

-1,350,000 METRIC TONS 
PRODUCED 



-803,000 TONS CAPACITY 
NOT PRODUCING 




§ f H; v.. $. I : : ;<• :; . :: : S 

\\ S*K\ : :: !:;K\ foflCS tt#C\ ^3\\ :tffl\\ :- : glC\ ft^KX :.:#\\ ■■■■ • iK\ ■ , KN 



JAN. I FE B. I MAR. I APR. I MAY. T J UNE T JULY I AUG. T SEPTI OCT T ' NOV. 1 DEC. J AN T FEB ' MAR 

1944 1945 



greatly diminished the vulnerability of the 
jet complex as a target system, the seriousness 
of the threat caused jet production to be put 
on a high priority in the fall of 1944. It 
retained this priority until the end of the 
war. And though aircraft now were produced in 
ever increasing numbers, the decline in the 
number of our bombers lost attest to the fact 
that the fighting capabilities of the Luftwaffe 
were rapidly declining. This is further under- 
lined by the great number of the enemy which 
our fighters now destroyed. 

All target systems have ramifications 
into other fields. Our new priority just • 
before and after D-Day was oil. Though the 
Luftwaffe was strongly on the decline before 
we began the oil offensive in Germany, oil 
shortages soon began to multiply the effects 
of the earlier attacks on aircraft plants and 
pilot experience level. Fuel shortages now 
began to curtail training programs, and 
diminished training intensified the trend of 
the dropping experience level. 

A further dividend of the aircraft factory 
attacks appeared. The products of the under- 
ground and dispersed factories were definitely 
of inferior workmanship and mechanical relia- 
bility. Non-combat looses of aircraft and 
pilots mounted steeply. This further harassed 



the beleaguered Luftwaffe. Lack of combat 
success added home criticism to its woes. 

Toward the end of the war, the Luftwaffe 
ceased to be a factor to be reckoned with. 

Oil 

The great attack on the Leipzig area on 20 
February, I9UU had an important collateral 
effect, lor it demonstrated that the time was 
near when th« great synthetic oil refineries of 
Germany would be within our bombing range. 

It had been held that oil could not become 
a major target system for the Eighth Air Force 
until the great aggregation of refineries at 
Ploesti, Rumania had been seriously crippled. 
A low-level attack on 1 .August, I9V5, and sub- 
sequent attacks by the Fifteenth Air Force, had 
crippled Ploesti' s capacity to a satisfactory 
degree. Now the Eighth Air Force was indicating 
a capability of penetration in depth necessary 
to attack all the vital synthetic oil producers. 

The Eighth Air Force attacks on oil began 
in mid-May, 1°M. The ground invasion, beginn- 
ing soon thereafter, prevented continuous attack 
on this target system for some weeks. But in 
September I9W+, a series of attacks began which 



77 



TARGETS 



had far-reaching results. Though many other 
commitments involved far more bomb tonnage, the 
lighth Air Force went after oil whenever weather 
and the tactical situation permitted. The 
Fifteenth Air Force and the Royal Air Force 
joined in. Oil production slumped and slumped, 
despite frantic efforts of Germany to repair the 
damage and to defend with huge concentrations 
of iiak batteries and fighter masses. But before 
the end of the war, German oil production was 
brought virtually to a standstill. 

The effect 8 were far-reaching. As has beer 
indicated above, training of fighter pilots was 
curtailed. Tanks and trucks were abandoned for 
lack of fuel. Motor transportation of supplies 
was reduced to a minimum and civilian use of 
gasolino was prohibited. 

The destruction of oil seriously crippled 
German mobility. "Requirements" were cut time 
and again to fit the realities of diminished 
production. These lowered "requirements" re- 
presented a great decrease in military capabil- 
ity. The end was apparent to all who knew the 
facts. 

An interesting sidelight is the fact that 
Field Marshal von Rundstedt placed the oil 
offensive only second to our air supremacy as a 
cause of Germany's defeat. 

Transportation 

The transportation system in Occupied 
Countries and, later, in Germany received vary- 
ing proportions of our bombs throughout the war. 
Marshalling yards were among our earliest 
targets. Around B-Day, thoy received a gigantic 
effort from the Hoyal Air Force as well as the 
Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. Transportation 
targets, of one type or another, occupied more 
of' our effort than any other target system. 

The reason for this is obvious. If 
Germany's transportation could be interdicted, 
her whole ability to wage war wculd disappear. 
Modern wars are known to have many men making 
supplies and munitions for every man on the 
firing line. The mine worker, the factory hand, 
the train crew, and the soldier are an inte- 
grated team, - all contributing directly to the 
firing line. Without transportation, ccal and 
iron cannot reach the factory, nor can the 
munitions and supplies reach the soldier. Such 
a situation would deprive the Army of its 
Tfeapons, and v;ithout weapons a modern army 
loses all military value. 

Clearly transportation was a target system 
of the utmost importance. 



Our transportation attacks can be seen to 
have three phases: first, the attacks on the 
major marshalling yards and repair facilities; 
second, the attack on the smaller marshalling 
yards; and third, the interdiction of rail lines, 
viaducts and bridges by which all movement was 
brought to a standstill. 

The attacks on the great marshalling yards 
persisted over a period of many months. However, 
the great weight of attacks began with prepara- 
tions for D-Day and continued as long as there 
were great marshalling yards left to attack in 
the tactical area or between the tactical area 
and manufacturing centers. 

There has been much controversy about the 
value of attacks on marshalling yards. It is 
true that, after most bombing attacks, a line 
or two can be re-laid so that through traffic 
can continue its trip. But the great points of 
value about such attacks are, first, that the 
capacity of ' the yard to handle huge tonnages on 
which the adjacent industrial facilities depend 
is violently reduced; second, much valuable 
rolling stock (and the goods contained) are 
destroyed; and, third, round houses and repair 
facilities frequently are destroyed, thus 
creating a vicious circle. 

There can be little doubt that the destruc- 
tion of the great marshalling yards seriously 
disrupted Germany's war production. 

The second phase was brief in duration but 
may have had a very important effect in bringing 
the war quickly to a close. In this phase, the 
German Air Force was so reduced in its capabili- 
ties of defense, that the bomber force, care- 
fully screened from attack by our fighters, was 
able to break down into small units and attack 
a large number of small marshalling yards, 
junctions and intersections in a band north and 
south across Germany. Since the Royal Air Force 
and the Ninth Air Force joined in, each air 
force taking a prescribed area, virtually the 
entire rail system of Germany was cut in two 
days. Repair trains and equipment were far 
inadequate to cope with any such catastrophe 
in time to save the flow of industrial produc- 
tion. 

Thereafter, similar exploitation attacks 
were continued against the transportation 
system until the end of the war. These attacks 
effectively paralyzed, not only his transporta- 
system, but his whole war economy. A third type 
of operation was attacks primarily for inter- 
diction. These were directed at cutting rail 
lines, bridges and viaducts as a continuing 



program. More effort of this type was expended 
by the Ninth Air Force since this was truly a 
tactical operation. But the Eighth Air Force 
joined in these attacks when weather and the 
situation permitted, just as the Ninth Air Force 
joined in the strategic operation of bombing the 
band of small marshalling yards. 

Miscellaneous Targets 

The target categories, miscellaneous in 
character, were sufficiently important to 
mention. They were armored vehicle factories, 
motor vehicle factories and ordnance plants, 
etc. 

All three were tactical in their importance 
and in the timing of the attacks, '.fhenever it 
was discovered that some plant was feeding im- 
portant auantities to the front lines in support 
of their ground battle, a mission was flown, 
weather permitting, to destroy that plant. 

Overall Effect on Manpower 

Strategic bombing forced the enemy to 
commit a huge portion of his manpower and 
military resources to oppose these air invasions 
- thereby seriously reducing his ground force 
strength and capabilities. The major commit- 
ments were first the German Air Force, includ- 
ing pilots, mechanics, supply and repair forces; 
second, the Air Raid Warning Services, including 
a great net-work of observers, a chain of radar 
technicians the whole length of the European 
coast, filter and control room personnel; third, 
flak battery personnel, for the thousands of 
flak guns over Europe, smoke screening and 
camouflage personnel. A secondary group was 
the huge number estimated employed ts repair 
bomb damage, the estimates ranging from 500J000 
to 700,000. 

A more difficult group to evaluate is the 
enormous number of people employed, wholly or 
in part, in producing the machines, munitions 
and supplies required by all the personnel of 
the German Air Force, the flak batteries and 
the watching services. It would be rash to 
hazard a gue3 3, but that it comprised an import- 
ant percentage of Germany' s manpower, there can 
be,no doubt. Even more important is the fact 
that all three categories, the German Air Force, 
the flak batteries, and the warning services, 
require personnel much above average intelli- 
gence and skill, thus involving a qualitative 
drain even more costly than the great quantita- 
tive drain would indicate. 



78 



TARGETS 




Chart A . 

The relative importance of gasoline production in the 
various German controlled areas of central Europe is shown 
in the above chart. 

The percentage of the total which was produced at the 
17 refineries of the great Ploesti area in Rumania was so 
great that a crippling of Ploesti was considered essential 
before starting a general attack on oil. 

The importance of the refineries at Politz was greater 
than indicated by production. The reason for this waB the 
fact that Politz produced a high percentage of the total of 
aviation gasoline. 



Chart B . 

The huge production of oil at the Ploesti refineries 
dominated the oil target situation. 

Oil production in Germany was divided into two cate- 
gories: refining of crude oil, and synthetic production. 

The great areas of crude oil refining were around 
Hamburg, Hanover, and the Ruhr. 

Synthetic oil production centered around the area of 
Magdeburg -Leipzig-Dresden, with a very important plant at 
Politz near Stettin. 



79 



TARGETS 




Chart A 

Early in the war German single-engine fighter assembly- 
was centered around a few great mass production plants. 
These areas are shown ahove in proportion to their relative 
importance. 

The two dominant single-engine fighter types were the 
Me-109 and the Fw-190. The production of each aseerably 
plant i» given as a percentage of the total production for 
the type produced. 



Chart B 

Before the great attack on aircraft assembly plants 
"begun 20 February 19^, a start had teen made at dispersal 
of facilities. This had changed the situation relatively 
little. But the all-out attack "begun in February forced an 
increased tempo of dispersal of the entire industry. 



80 



TARGETS 



SO_ 




Chart A 

When dispersal of aircraft production facilities had 
advanced to the point indicated above, the industry then 
was exceedingly vulnerable to attacks on transportation. 
Such attacks disrupted deliveries of components and parts. 

Planned production was impeded during the vital race 
to 'build up the German air forces. Once Germany lost 
ground in this race, the enemy never was able to recover 
his lost position. 



Chart B 

Schweinfurt dominated the production of "ball bearings 
for the Axis. Its importance as a target was well recog- 
nized even bsfore the war began. 

Early attempts to destroy Schweinfurt met with partial 
succ'ess, When long-range fighter escort was available to 
permit full-scale attack, Schweinfurt' s importance had been 
reduced by the fact that the enemy had developed substitute 
bearings in the interim. 



81 



82 



CHAPTER Y. 
THE AIR WAR ON THE WESTERN FRONT 

1942-1945 



83 



CHAPTER 3T 

THE AIR WAR ON THE WESTERN FRONT 1942 -1945 

I. INTRODUCTION —SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE 
EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



The Conception of the Eighth Air Force 

When, on 17 August 19*42 with twelve £-0.7 s 
and a covering cloud of Royal Air Force Spit- 
fires, the Eighth Air Force made its first 
attack on "Fortress Europe" it translated into 
action years of military planning. American 
military experts had developed an air theory 
from conceptions of the use of air power pro- 
pounded by Douhet, Mitchell, and many others. 
Predicated on this theory, production and train- 
ing programs were in operation for building the 
most powerful air force which modern warfare 
had yet seen, after years of peacetime testing 
during which aircraft were designed and re- 
designed. 

How was this air weapon to be used? Pro- 
ponents on one hand saw the airplane, not as a 
limited weapon, but as a means in itself of 
winning a war. Through it, -firepower would 
gain a range and mobility which they believed 
would be decisive in warfare. _ On the other 
hand, the ground services felt that air power 
must prove itself in practice before it could 
be relied upon to deliver the blow resulting 
directly in d.efeat of the enemy. 

By compromise, the American plan to utilize 
air power was limited in its objective. The 
plan was: to gain clear air supremacy over the 
enemy, and then to cripple his military, 
economic and industrial capacity to wage war to 
the point where his ground arm;/, well-equipped 
and trained, could be beaten on its "home field" 
by Allied ground forces necessarily limited in 
both training and battle experience. 

The United States entered the war with an 
ally having experience and a base for opera- 
tions, both invaluable to the rapid exploita- 
tion of the American plan. The range of 
America's existing and planned aircraft equip- 
ment made British bases vital. Experience and 
data accumulated by the British in their war 
for survival aided greatly during this experi- 
mental stage. 

British bases, however, did not adjoin 
primary objectives. The 3ighth Air Force could 
come to grips with the enemy just across the 
English Channel or the North Sea. But in these 
enemy- occupied countries (France, Belgium, 



Holland, and Denmark), there were civilian 
populations which it was hoped could be liberat- 
ed from the Nazis with minimum loss to them. 
Hence, bombing there must be limited. Further, 
war production in occupied countries was very 
small compared to production in the Reich. The 
main target area began 250 miles east of London 
and extended another UOO miles beyond, ranging 
northward from Switzerland to the borders of 
Denmark. However, the real vitals of the Reich, 
were the Leipzig-Berlin-Hanover area and the 
Ruhr. Between these vitals and bases of the 
Eighth Air Force in Britain was the Luftwaffe, 
based in occupied countries to intercept attackt 
against Germany' s inner core. 

Hitler's Concept of Air Power 

What was the doctrine behind the Luftwaffe's 
defensive strategy? Lindbergh had asserted that 
Germany had a powerful air force, and subsequent 
conquests in Poland and France had proved him 
correct. Why, then, was such a weapon used in 
an almost purely defensive role? Simply because 
air implementation of ground attack was the 
concept adopted by the German High Command when 
organizing this air force. The enemy saw an 
air force as a weapon primarily for use in 
obtaining decisive results in ground battle. 
His policy makers did not envision that the 
decisive battle itself might take place in the 
air. This lack of imagination had far-reaching 
results: it was the flaw in Hitler's plan of 
conquest, for it lost him the Battle of Britain. 

On *+ September 19*40, Hitler threatened to 
wipe out the major cities of Britain if that 
nation continued to defy him. This actually 
meant putting the German Air Force to work on a 
strategic assignment involving large-scale dis- 
location of the British war economy, for which 
it was unprepared. Almost immediately the 
German Air Force launched a daylight air offen- 
sive from a multitude of nearby French bases. 
Everything seemed to favor its success. Britain 
appeared unequal to the task of defending a 
highly vulnerable concentration of targets 
against German air power, disposed at short 
range in bases affording innumerable lines of 
attack. But the Luftwaffe had not been designed 
for this task. Bombers which were effective ten 
miles behind a battle line were entirely in- 
adequate to attack successfully huge industrial 



areas. Although greatly outnumbering the Royal 
Air Force, German fighters failed to achieve 
aerial supremacy over the British Isles. They 
were neither equipped nor trained to match the 
tactics of the very numerically inferior ad- 
versary. Here was a decisive air battle which 
Hitler had not foreseen. In order to continue 
the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe was forced 
to resort to night bombing. This constituted 
Hitler's first real set-back and it was of 
tremendous importance. But instead of re- 

evaluating the recuirenents of air warfare, 
Hitler seems to have said to himself, "If I 
can' t destroy the enemy' s war economy from the 
air, then no one can destroy mine". From that 
date the German mind, which had ridiculed the 
Maginot concept on the ground, now embraced it 
in the air. 

Henceforth, German air power was to be 
defensive. 

By this change in attitude toward air, 
Hitler indicated a new limit to his objectives: 
for' an indefinite period he would be content to 
isolate "Fortress England" while he set his own 
"Fortress Europe" in order, particularly in the 
east. His plan was to make Europe secure from 
water-borne attacks from the west through main- 
tenance of an unbeaten army and a powerful 
defensive air force based mainly in France and 
the other conquered buffer states. Henceforth, 
the Luftwaffe was charged, in addition to its 
"normal" role of ground support - with the 
defense against any air attacks which the 
British might attempt. Even later, when 
American plans for g huge offensive air force 
became known to him, Hitler's erroneous evalua- 
tion of the threat implied prevented prepara- 
tion of an adequate defense. Instead, the 
Fuehrer dreamed of weapons of the future to 
encompass the east defeat of Britain without 
invasion by sea or by air, but rather by sub- 
marine blockade and by long-range projectiles 
such as the "buzz bomb" and the V-2 rocket 
weapon. 

British Air Plans 

Britain meanwhile was busy developing a 
far different air strategy. Too weak unaided 
£ CONTINUED OK PAGE 85) 



84 



I. SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



to carry out the appalling task of water - 
invasion of Europe, Britain turned to the air 
weapon as a prime means of defeating Germany. 
-Failure of the German Air Force with its pre- 
dominance of medium "bombers to effect vitally 
the war economy of Britain, and the long ex- 
pressed American confidence in the four-engined 
"bomber, certainly influenced Britain to "begin 
mass production of this type of aircraft. The 
British concept of air war was bold, but it 
missed part of the lesson already taught to the 
Germans by the Boyal Air Force, for the British 
attempted to use heavily loaded four-engined 
bombers for low-level daylight attack deep into 
enemy territory without adequate defense for 
the bombers. The first raid to Augsburg, k 
April 19^2, met with such disaster that the 
British decided to turn at once to night attacks, 
in which enemy interception was less efficient, 
but in which also bombing of precise targets 
became much more difficult. 

The American View of Air Warfare 

America, then, had two test cases to study 
as to the practicability of daylight air bom- 
bardment of enemy industry: first, the German 
and then, the British. Both cases indicated 
that daylight bombardment deep into the air 
defenses of the enemy' s country was too costly 
for sustained operations. Both nations had 
resorted to protective darkness to hinder enemy 
defenses in spite of the fact that darkness also 



impedes accuracy of target identification and 
bombing. Both fell back on Douhet's theory 
that a nation' s morale could be broken by 
continuous air bombardment. Each hoped at 
various times to mount a scale of effort which 
would bring about this result. 

America, however, was not convinced by 
these two demonstrations that daylight bombard- 
ment was impracticable. Leaders of the Army 
Air Forces felt that neither Germany nor Britain 
had provided sufficiently for the defense of 
the daylight striking force. America's first 
law of tactics was economy of force. This 
meant the continuous attack on vital objectives 
made possible by security of the striking force 
against destruction by the enemy . Defensive , 
measures to obtain security were, (l) the 
ultimate defense of the bombers by a previously 
unheard of volume of armament; and (2) mobile 
and flexible firepower in the form of fighter 
escort. In this latter factor, America was to 
break new ground. Generally held beliefs were 
that fighters were incapable of long-range 
flight; and that a shorter range fighter, due 
to its lighter weight, could out-maneuver and 
out-fight a longer range fighter. America 
brushed dogma aside and studied all' the factors. 
The result? Fighters of a range ecrual to that 
of the four-engined bomber and therefore 
capable of providing escort throughout any 
mission were developed and used successfully. 
These fighters were also engaged in all types 



of cooperation and carried out a considerable 
number of independent missions. 

So the stage was set: Germany, beaten in 
the Battle of Britain, had gone on the air 
defensive, certain that "Fortress Europe" 
strengthened by an unbeaten army garrison 
would be secure. Britain, eaually secure in 
geographical defense, but without a comparable 
army, had embarked on an air offensive applied 
at night. America would now begin to test the 
following theories: that the best policy for 
winning the air war is to meet the enemy at 
every opportunity and destroy him in the air; 
that the final collapse of Germany would take 
place after that .nation' s war potential had 
been reduced by bombing to a point where Allied 
ground forces could cross the great barrier of 
the English Channel and defeat the battle-- 
hardened German armies in the west. It is 
worth noting that Hitler, with a victorious 
army, had judged the same channel crossing 
operation too formidable though faced with 
what he thought was only weak air and ground 
opposition in England at the time. 

The first step to conquer Germany was to 
be the subjugation of the Luftwaffe; the 
second was to be the daylight bombardment of 
Germany' s military, economic and industrial 
capacity to wage war. 



2. CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING TARGETS 



There were several factors' having a gen- 
eral effect on selection of targets for Eighth 
Air Force attack - weather, flak, and radar and 
radio. 

Weather 

"Weather in England and "Western Europe is 
bad for flying. Over England, France and Ger- 
many, all through the year, there is a process- 
ion of storms, frequent fogs and low hanging 
clouds. Every thres days on the average during 
the winter, a severe storm will be found in the 
area between London and Berlin. There will be 
early morning fog approximately twice a week. 
During the winter, cloud cover over Germany 
averages 60-30 percent, and even in summer the 



coverage averages 50-80 percent. Conditions 
causing icing and condensation trails virtual- 
ly always are present but vary in severity with 
seasonal and air mass changes. 

Weather experts of the Army Air Forces had 
estimated that days suitable for daylight bomb- 
ing operations in the theater would amount to a 
maximum of 10 monthly with an expectancy of 6 
throughout the year. 

Weather conditions turned out to be just 
as bad as expected; but before the end of the 
war, the Eighth Air Force actually was flying 
an average of 22 days a month out of a forecast 
of 24 operational days. How was this startling 
change accomplished? 



The Problem : Obviously it was necessary 
to have as high a rate of operations as possible 
in order to make repeat attacks to prevent Ger- 
many from repairing damage caused by bombing. 
Every effort was made to study European weather 
and to devise methods for increasing the Eighth 
Air Force's rate of operations. 

The problem was complicated. There were 
serious difficulties in forecasting such vari- 
able weather. There was an additional diffi- 
culty of making forecasts of a type with which 
meteorologists never before had been required 
to deal on a large scale. For instance, accu- 
rate forecasts were reauired for high-level 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 86) 



85 



2. CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING TARGETS 



winds and over large areas. It was necessary 
to know also the base and top of all layers of 
low, medium and high cloud to facilitate the 
prediction of route and assembly weather. The 
time of arrival in the base area of major storm 
systems had to be estimated. It was- vital to 
know ceiling and visibility for landing at base 
areas. 

Early in the war there were standard 
minimum operational limits. Bombers did not 
attempt to take off when visibility was less 
than half a mile and ceiling less than 500 feet. 
Assembly of the bomber force required several 
thousand feet of clear weather at operational 
altitude. Formation flying was not undertaken 
along routes which would be obstructed by high 
cloud tops. The Eighth's first few bombing 
missions required conditions of no more than 
5/lOths cloud below 20,000 feet for visual at- 
tack on the targets, and landing requirements 
were a mile of visibility and 1,000 foot ceil- 
ing. 

It was necessary to have accurate fore- 
casts of conditions for take-off, assembly, 
route, target and landing so that the bomber 
force would not be endangered. 

The required combination of weather con- 
ditions occurred so infrequently that it became 
difficult to maintain pressure against the 
enemy. Because of the fallibility of forecast- 
ing under war conditions the suitable days were 
not known always in advance and hence could not 
be utilized. 

The Solution ; During the period of the 
Eighth Air Force's participation in the war, 
solutions were found for a great many of these 
weather problems. In general, the solutions 
resulted from the development of new techniques 
of weather scouting, navigation and overcast 
bombing, and from increased experience. Late 
in the war the availability of alternate ass- 
embly and landing areas in France acted to in- 
crease the rate of operations. 

In order to facilitate the forecasting of 
route and assembly weather before a mission, 



aircraft of special weather reconnaissance 
units were dispatched to observe cloud layers. 
To supplement reports from ships at sea and 
land weather stations and also reports from 
Royal Air Force weather reconnaissance aircraft, 
the 652 Bombardment Squadron flew regularly 
scheduled flights in all types of weather into 
the North Atlantic as far as the Azores. Fast 
Mosquitos went far into enemy territory to note 
conditions over routes and target areas. During 
the actual missions, P-51 weather scouts flew 
reconnaissance on weathe r and reported results. 
All this greatly improved the accuracy of fore- 
casts and the Eighth's capacity of utilizing 
weather conditions to a maximum. 

In planning a mission the weather map 
forecast was an important factor in selection 
of the target. Altitude and routes were chosen 
to a considerable extent to be where cloud and 
condensation trails were at a minimum. The 
direction of attack was governed largely by the 
wind forecast at bombing altitudes over the tar- 
get. The zero hour was chosen primarily to ob- 
tain minimum cloud over the target. All these 
factors had to be geared to conditions at base 
suitable for take-off and landing. 

Multiple plans for a mission were fre- 
quent, with final decision delayed until arri- 
val of the latest weather information. Some- 
times this final decision would not be made 
until the Eighth was over enemy territory. Even 
then orders for the bombers might be changed on 
recommendations of P-51 weather scouts, and for 
the fighters on recommendations of the Micro- 
wave Early Warning control station. Ultimately 
a point was reached where a task force could be 
assigned a number of targets of equal priority 
in a general area having variable cloud condi- 
tions. Arriving before the bombers in the area, 
P-51 weather scouts would advise the task force 
commander where weather was best and which tar- 
gets to attack. 

New and improved types of navigational 
equipment increased the capacity of the force 
to navigate to distant targets over full cloud 
cover. Modifications of this equipment, and 
techniques to utilize it specifically for bomb- 



ing, were developed to the point where bombing 
through 10/lOths cloud became commonplace. 
Such equipment for navigation included H2X, 
Gee-H and Micro-H. The same devices 'used with 
new and specially adapted techniques, were used 
for overcast bombing. 

The Result ; The following table gives an 
indication of how much progress was made in 
conquering weather: 

Actual Days of Operation 



1942 1943 1944 1945 



January 

February 

March 




4 
5 
9 


11 
18 
23 


21 
20 
26 


April 

May 

June 




4 
9 
7 


21 
25 
28 




July 
August 
September 
October 


7 
3 
3 


10 
8 

11 
7 


27 
23 
20 
18 




November 


8 


11 


18 




December 


4 


10 


21 





With pressure great to increase the rate 
of operations, the number of aircraft recalled 
or aborting due to weather amounted to only 10 
percent of total aircraft dispatched by the 
Eighth Air Force throughout the war. During 
the last 8 months of operations, September 1944 
through April 1945, when approximately half of 
the total sorties flown were deep into Germany, 
the rate of abortives had been reduced to 5.8 
percent of sorties for a period in which the 
rate of operations had more than doubled. 

It is noteworthy that during June- 1944, the 
crucial invasion month, the Eighth Air Force 
operated 28 out of the 30 days. Achievement of 
this was made possible, in part, by charging 
each individual group commander to train his 
force and test its capability for flying in bad 
weather with a view to improvement. Competition 
between groups to operate a maximum, led to ult- 
imate utilization of virtually every day in the 
month . 

(CONTINUED ON PAGE 87) 



86 




O MANCHESTER 
-5J° 



<F ' ? ' 7 



16° 18° 



- FLAK MAP - 
23 FEBRUARY 1945 




? ♦•• 



• • 



Chart A 



Chart B 



2. CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING TARGETS 



Flak 

The Importance of Flak : Flak was a major 
and ever-present problem throughout the war in 
Europe. The number of Eighth Air Force bombers 
damaged by flak always exceeded those damaged 
by enemy aircraft. However, flak damage usually 
was repairable in a short time. After May igUU 
bombers lost to flak exceeded those lost to 
enemy aircraft, but this represented no great 
increase in the effectiveness of flak. It was 
due rather to the negative reason that the enemy 
fighter force was losing its effectiveness. 

The number of bombers damaged and lost to 
flak rose steadily from August igl+2 until 
October l^kk, due to greater numerical exposure 
which occurred when increasing numbers of bomb- 
ers were sent out against heavily defended 
targets. After October 19I+I+ the damaged and 
lost total fell off. This trend came about 
mainly because skilled enemy anti-aircraft 
artillerymen were not available in sufficient 
numbers to meet the enemy' s increasing require- 
ments and later because of shortages of anti- 



aircraft ammunition and consequent restrictions 
on firing. 

Other influences included improvement in 
the quality and quantity of flak intelligence; 
the use of anti-flak tactics such as tactical 
bombing of gun positions and firing of Allied 
field artillery on front-line enemy flak 
batteries, and counter-measures against enemy 
range-finding devices. 

The percentage of Eighth Air Force bombers 
which were hit by flak reached a level of about 
25 percent of the attacking force by November 
1942, fluctuating above and below an average of 
25 percent until October 19*44. Thereafter, the 
percentage of bombers hit by flak decreased 
rapidly, for the same causes given above. 

Data now available show that one Eighth Air 
Force bomber was lost to flak for every ten 
damaged during the period August 19*42 - June 
I9U3; during July I9I+3 - October 19I44, one was 
lost for every 13 damaged; by the end of 19*+*+. 
one was lost for every 16 damaged; and by the 



end of February 19*+5. one was lost for every 
22 damaged. 

G-erman Anti-aircraft Artillery Disposi- 
tions : The location of enemy flak guns in the 
areas of bombing attacks by the Eighth Air 
Force was well known throughout the war. Rarely 
did a heavier disposition of anti-aircraft guns 
turn up than was estimated beforehand. Flak 
intelligence was of a high order, due to cons- 
tant use of photographic reconnaissance to 
locate the enemy guns. 

Shifts and increases in enemy anti- 
aircraft gun dispositions tended to follow 
variations in target priorities. As Eighth 
Air Force bombers penetrated deeper into enemy 
territory and attacked targets in a new cate- 
gory, anti-aircraft defenses built up rapidly 
around similar targets located within the 
Eighth' s demonstrated range capability. 

The magnitude of enemy flak defense is 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 88) 



87 



2. CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING TARGETS 



indicated "by the fact that freouently during 
I9U3 the Eighth attacked targets defended by 
more than 100 heavy guns . In 19I4-I+, with equal 
or greater frequency, targets defended by more 
than 200 heavy guns were attacked. Around such 
targets as the Leuna Oil Refinery at Merseburg 
approximately k^O heavy guns were disposed. In 
greater Berlin, there were at least ^50 heavy 
guns. In the great Ruhr area, the weight of 
enemy anti-aircraft artillery was enormous. 

German Anti-aircraft Guns and Range - 
Finding; Devices : The standard gun used "by the 
German anti-aircraft batteries through I9U0 was 
the low velocity 88 mm. In lghl three new guns 
were in production: the high velocity 88 mm., 
105 mm. and the 128 mm. Although the 105 mm. 
was produced in reasonably large quantities, 
its output finally was discontinued in favor of 
the other two models because of technical 
difficulties with the gun. 

At the end of the war over 50 percent of 
anti-aircraft guns in use by the Germans at 
that time still were old low velocity 88 mm. 
models. The low velocity SS mm. had a maximum 
effective range of 26,000 feet while the high 
velocity 88 mm. had a maximum effective range 
of between 32,000 and 35,000 feet. 

Early in the war the Germans relied entire- 
ly on visual sighting, but by I9U0 they had 
developed satisfactory radar for the finding of 
unseen aircraft through cloud and darkness. By 
this time they also were using a good mechani- 
cal predictor with either visual or radar 
finding. 

Accuracy of visual sighting methods was 
greater than it was for unseen fire. As long 
as anti-aircraft guns could sight on an indi- 
vidually tracked unit, effectiveness was high. 
As soon as barrage fire or predicted concentra- 
tion was resorted to lethal effect became far 
less. 

Flak defenses around targets under 
constant strategic bombing attack were static. 
That is to say, they were not equipped with 
mounts for moving the guns to other targets. 
These guns could be, and quite often were 
moved, however, but they had no high inherent 
mobility, since it was necessary to employ 
railroad cars or very heavy trucks in the 
nrocess. 



The Large Battery Site : The chief techni- 
cal development of the war in enemy flak de- 
fenses was the large battery site. Some sites 
had as many as 36 guns, all operating under one 
tactical control. The Germans claimed certain 
advantages for these large batteries, but 
their employment was due, at least in part, to 
the lack of an. adequate supply of gun sighting 
devices. Another cause was the increasing 
shortage of highly trained technical personnel 
as the war progressed. 

Variation of Risk from Flak with Altitude 
of the Bomber : The Eighth learned early in 
the war that low-level bombing presented a 
far too dangerous flak risk to be continued. 
Early attacks at 7,500 and 8,000 feet over 
St. Mazaire resulted in 100 percent battle 
damage to the bomber force. 

A "rule of thumb" which has remained 
fairly accurate throughout the war is as 
follows: risk of a flak hit decreases by half 
for every 5,000 feet of elevation. Many 
statistics have been developed and many charts 
drawn to indicate the degree of vulnerability 
of individual aircraft and of various sized 
formations at varying altitudes. However, 
this "rule of thumb" still gives a reasonable 
approximation. 

One chart produced late in the war shows 
that the risk of strikes on a close formation 
of IS bombers is three times as great at 
10,000 feet as it is at 23,000 feet. Similar 
figures for a single bomber or very loose 
formation of bombers indicates that the risk 
is six times as great for a hit at 10,000 feet 
as it is at 23,000 feet. For the single bomber 
the risk is cut in two by rising from 22,000 
feet to 27,000 feet. 

Target Systems : The Eighth Air Force 
operated under a rigid system of target 
priorities. This resulted in many attacks on 
targets where a risk of flak loss and damage 
was high because the enemy had grasped our 
target intentions. 

Isolated high priority targets, such as 
Synthetic Oil Plants, generally were most 
dangerous from the flak point of view. Such 
targets were very heavily defended with flak 
batteries. Although the risk of loss and 
damage was great, these targets had to be 



attacked even when the conditions of visibility 
were such that the expectancy of successful 
bombing was not great. The concentration of 
guns around such targets was responsible for 
mounting bomber losses and flak damage in 19W+. 

Large city areas containing important 
manufacturing and communication targets had 
strong and relatively stable defenses. There 
was little change in the number and disposi- 
tion of guns in such locations. 

V-wespon installations often were defended 
by small numbers of highly mobile guns, the 
positions of which shifted frequently. The 
situation was further aggravated' by the low 
altitude of attack required for visual sight- 
ings and by the overlapping of the flak de- 
fenses of these areas. 

During periods when the battle line 
became stabilized, flak defenses adjacent to 
the line were subject to frequent change. 
Heavily built up defenses usually were found 
at communication centers. This situation 
complicated the selection of routes over battle 
lines and made great accuracy necessary in 
selecting headings for the bomb runs on 
communication targets. 

Isolated low priority targets such as 
airfields in France and Belgium generally were 
lightly defended. However, the flak defenses 
underwent periodic changes as importance to 
the enemy of an airfield increased or decreased. 
This type of target was dangerous only if at- 
tacked from too low an altitude. 



Route Planning : Most enemy targets had 
to be attacked freouently to insure that the 
damaged status was maintained. Such attacks 
had to be carried out in spite of heavy con- 
centrations of flak. The risk, however, could 
be modified to varying degrees by selection of 
routes for bombing and withdrawal allowing 
minimum exposure to anti-aircraft fire. Flak 
intelligence, therefore, was a major factor in 
route planning. But, as indicated elsewhere 
in this report, flak was only one of many 
factors to be considered. The final route 
usually was a compromise between the safest 
flak route and one dictated by other opera- 
tional factors. 

(COHTHJUED OB PAGE 89) 



88 



2. CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING TARGETS 



Defensive Measures against Heavy Flak : 
Bombers can best evade anti-aircraft fire by 
flying at high altitude and by taking evasive 
action. But both of these practices are 
enemies of bombing accuracy. This situation 
demanded a compromise. In actual nractice, 
formations generally flew at high altitudes 
but took no evasive action on the bombing run 
although intensity of anti-aircraft fire there 
would be severe. 

Other measures taken to reduce flak ex- 
posure were! 

a. Formations were reduced in size and 
spaced closer together in trail. 
This reduced the size of the anti- 
aircraft gunners' target and tended 
to saturate flak defenses. 

b. The quality and quantity of flak in- 
telligence was improved. 

c. Constant pressure was exerted to im- 
prove navigation and the flying of 
true courses so that cross winds 
would not sweep trailing formations 
gver flak defenses en route. Accura.cy 
in navigation also tended to keep 
aircraft in channels of least flak 
exposure in target areas. 

d. Aircraft and crews received more and 
better armor. 

e. Radio counter-measures and the dropp- 
ing of "Window" were employed to jam 
enemy gun-directing equipment. 

Conclusions : Although the enemy experi- 
mented with centimeter wave-length radars, 
proximity fuzes, and radio-guided missiles and 
many other things, data now available indicate 
that the most important source of heavy flak 
loss and damage was the conventional anti- 
aircraft gun, controlled and fired by conven- 
tional methods. 



Radar and Radio Interception 

Much of the surprise effect inherent in the 
use of air power over clouds was nullified by 
the invention of radar locating devices. Inter- 
ception by the enemy of radio conversations be- 
tween aircraft of the Eighth Air Force or be- 
tween aircraft and ground controls tended 
further to eliminate the surprise factor. 



Radar: The use of large bomber formations 
required an extended period of assembly at 
altitude before reaching enemy territory. Radar 
aircraft detection devices are limited by the 
fact that their rays follow a line of sight, and 
distant aircraft flying near the ground are 
hidden by the curvature of the earth. But even 
a small number of aircraft (1 to 5) at 20,000 
feet over the middle of England can be detected 
from the coast of Europe. At an altitude as low 
as 2,000 feet they can be detected by radar 50 
miles from the European coast line. 

A formation at 15,000 feet having large 
numbers of aircraft could be picked up by the 
German radar as far away as 100 miles. Inasmuch 
as a normal altitude for assembly over East 
Anglia by the Eighth Air Force was between 
10,000 and 25,000 feet, the enemy was in a posi- 
tion to detect and follow the assembly with 
radar devices for two to two-and-a-half hours 
before the bombers reached the enemy coast. 

Radio Interception: Another important 
means of intelligence for the enemy was his "Y" 
Service or interception of radio messages be- 
tween aircraft and ground controls. Radio 
Security through radio silence while on missions 
never was practical in this theater with the 
size of the force that had to be controlled and 
coordinated. The radio devices in the aircraft 
are numerous and complicated. On a large 
mission, 10,000 to 12,000 men in the bombers 
have access to radio communication. With -the 
limited amount of radio training which the 
average crew member received it was inevitable 
that there were leaks over the radio of informa- 
tion of value to the enemy. Occasionally, 
remarks intended to be limited to the inter- 
communication system of the individual aircraft, 
through crew error, were broadcast by radio. 

Neither the enemy nor the Allies was slow 
to take advantage of breaches of radio disci- 
pline by the opposing force. Even where disci- 
pline was maintained and codes were used, the 
codes usually were broken rapidly. The use of 
map grid systems, with numbered and lettered 
references to geographical points, delayed the 
uncoding of intercepts only a matter of hours . 



From intercepted radio messages an amazing 
amount of information was gained both by the 
Allies and the enemy on matters such as organ- 
ization, tactics, numbers, units and intentions 
of the opposing force. One of the finest 
treatises on the Eighth Air Force, written in 



detail and with great accuracy concerning many 
secret matters was produced by the German "Y" 
Service. Because of radar detection and radio 
interception it was practically impossible to 
conceal a full-scale penetration in depth in 
this theater. 

The bombing of enemy radar devices was 
considered seriously. No large scale attacks 
ever were carried out because it was found that 
the enemy had a large supply of radar equipment 
and that his reserve to a major decree was 
allocated to the Western Front. In addition, 
large radar installations were hard to find and 
exceedingly difficult to hit. Normally they 
were built so strongly that nothing but a 
direct hit would put them out of action for 
more than a few hours. The majority of in- 
stallations were small and highly mobile. 
Attacks on them would have been a waste of 
bombs. 

Radio and Radar Countermeasures: Early in 
the war highly skilled British technicians 
played upon the limitations of enemy radar de- 
vices and radio interception with great success. 
Radar detection is limited seriously in the 
adequacy of information it produces. The enemy 
attempted to increase his information by multi- 
plying the number and type of devices in use. 
The information so gathered was evaluated at a 
control and it made possible estimates of 
numbers, types, speeds and direction of flight 
of both American and British aircraft. However, 
radar devices could not detect specific numbers 
with even approximate accuracy until the air- 
craft were within a few miles. German control- 
lers determined types of aircraft from speed, 
altitude, the nature of the reflected spot seen 
on the scope, and the area in which the air- 
craft first were seen. Headings were estab- 
lished with fair accuracy. The area from which 
aircraft took off was easy to detect unless 
measures were taken to confuse the enemy by 
"spoofing". 

With a huge force of bombers, such as the 
Eighth Air Force operated, the difficulties 
involved in attempting to "spoof" or confuse 
the enemy are great. Sometimes, however, 
startlingly successful results were accomplish- 
ed with the aid of special equipment to jam 
enemy interception of radio messages. For 
example, on 27 November 1944, the enemy de- 
(COHTINUED ON PAG3 $0) 



89 



2. CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING TARGETS 



tected what he thought were Eighth Air Force 
heavy bombers headed across the Zuyder Zee 
towards Berlin. He later found to his dismay 
that what he had believed to be a bomber force 
was almost the entire fighter force of the 



Eighth Air Force. This resulted in a serious 
defeat for the Luftwaffe which it could ill 
afford to take. Special jamming devices were 
sent out over the North Sea in Eighth Air Force 
aircraft during this mission. 



It is evident that the field of radio and 
radar deception is a highly fruitful and import- 
ant one for any air force to exploit whether it 
be on the defensive or the offensive. 



CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



Eighth Air Force - Bombers 

The capabilities of a great bomber force, 
flown in formation, are a combination of the 
capabilities of its units and those of the air- 
craft in the units. The individual capabilities 
of an aircraft naturally are modified when it is 
flown in a formation and still further modifica- 
tion results when several formations operate as 
a Task Force. 

The B-17 or Flying Fortress 

The Boeing B-17 aircraft of the present 
actually is a modification and improvement of 
the 1934 B-17 design. Many attempts were made 
in many countries to design a more capable 
bomber after that time, but the B-17 still is 
without a peer in its class for combat in the 
European Theater. 

The manufacturer designed the aircraft for 
a maximum gross load of 48,000 pounds. 'With 
such a load, the B-17 could indicate over 200 
miles per hour, and at optimum altitude, make a 
true air speed of over 300 miles per hour. It 
-could climb to well over 40,000 feet. Its range 
was as great as 2,500 miles. 

Combat requirements, however, placed more 
and more overload on the B-17. Increasing enemy 
capabilities at various times brought about the 
addition of more turrets, armor and armament. 
This entailed adding to the crew and increasing 
the already great weights of ammunition to give 
sufficient duration of fire. The considerable 
distances from available bases to vital enemy 
targets made the carrying of large amounts of 
fuel necessary. Additional communications 
equipment was added. Large bomb loads were 
essential. 

With each addition to the overload, the 
B-17 gained certain capabilities, but each 



entailed the loss of some other characteristic 
in the initially superb performance of the B-17. 
Speed and maneuverability were reduced; climb 
and ceiling were lowered; range was cut. 

During the first year of the air war with 
Germany, gross loads rose above 55,000 pounds 
take-off weight. Thereafter, extra fuel tanks 
were added. Eventually, the B-17 was taking off 
with gross loads up to 65,000 pounds, or 8g 
tons overload. What did all this do to per- 
formance? 



Jith standard tanks and a 55,000 pound 
gross weight, the B-17 could fly 1,800 miles at 
10,000 to 12,000 feet altitude. Direct penetra- 
tions into enemy territory, however, required 
climbing to 20,000 feet or higher over England 
and assembling into defensive formations before 
heading for the enemy coast. This procedure 
was made necessary by the accuracy and range of 
enemy anti-aircraft batteries situated along 
the coast, and by the habits of enemy fighters. 
At one time the fighters came out to sea to 
meet Eighth Air Force formations. 



This climb and assembly used up both time 
and fuel, and the jockeying, necessary to hold 
formation, used up still more fuel. There was 
consistently a strong wind at this altitude 
which further reduced the effective radius of 
operations • 

To give some impression of the useful 
range of the B-17 under combat load and combat 
conditions, the term "Practical Range Capa- 
bility" was coined. This term means "the range 
of the B-17, after altitude assembly, flying in 
formation at given settings, directly into 
enemy territory and with direct withdrawal". 
The conditions set were as follows: 



For B-17 with Standard Tanks: 



Fuel capacity 

Gross weight (includ- 
ing 5000 pound bombs) 

Climb, at 140 mph I.A.S. 
immediately to 

Assembly time 

Flight to target and 
return, at altitude at 

Let down, commencing 160 
miles from base at 500 feet 
per minute and 170 mph I.A.S 



1,730 gallons. 
55,000 pounds. 



25,000 feet. 
60 minutes 

155 mph I.A.S. 



Such conditions permitted a depth of penetra- 
tion of approxiitately 360 miles beyond the 
enemy coast and return, this range being cal- 
culated from fuel consumption records compiled 
over many months of combat. 

When the climb could be made over the 
Kortfi Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, range was, of 
course, extended. Hence the curves in the 
lines on the chart extending the range eastward 
along the North German coast, and southward in 
France along the coast on the Bay of Biscay. 

For the 3-17 with Tokyo Tanks (or wing 
tanksT ; Fuel capacity rose to 2,812 gallons 
and gross weight (including 5,000 pounds of 
bombs) to 63,000 pounds. This fuel capacity 
and load, for the same conditions as before 
gave a penetration beyond the enemy coast line 
of 630 miles and return. 

So much for range. What were the other 
characteristics and capabilities of the B-17? 

The aircraft has excellent stability. It 
is strong and will absorb great battle damage 
before control is lost. Its air-cooled engines 
(CONTIUUSC OH PASS 92) 



90 



BOMBERS 

B-17 8 B-24'S OF EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



•V- DAYS OF OPERATION (PER MONTH) 
_ EFFECTIVE STRENGTH (av. mo.) 
( RESERVE (AV. PER MISSION) 
1 DISPATCHED (AV. PER mission) 
ABORTIVES (AV. PER mission) 
'ACKING (AV. PER MISSION) 






COMPARISON OF PRACTICAL RANGE CAPABILIT Y 
WITH DEMONSTRATED RANCE CAPABILITY 
AUG. 1942 - MAY 1945 



Chart A . Bombers - B-17s and B-24a of Eighth Air Force . 

Days of Operation per Month . During the early part of the war, 
Eighth Air Force bombers were capable of bombing only on days when visual 
bombing conditions prevailed, and when take-off and landing conditions 
permitted operations under the then - limited experience of crews. The 
rise in days of operation reflected increasing capabilities, which had 
been brought about by means of overcast navigation equipment and tech- 
niques, and improvement in ability to fly in bad weather. 

Effective Strength, Dispatched, and Attacking . Clear or shaded 
bars, show growth of the force and its operational use. The difference 
between the number of aircraft dispatched on a mission and the number 
which attacked targets, represents "abortives" which turned back for 
various reasons, such as failure of equipment. All these figures repre- 
sent daily averages for the actual missions flown during the month. 

In some of the early months, the figure for bombers dispatched is 
higher than the effective strength. This shows the tremendous effort 
made to put the maximum possible force in the fight against Germany . 
Every aircraft was dispatched which could be made to fly, even with pick- 
up crews, and the rate of abortives was unusually high. 

Total loss for the month represents bombers destroyed or lost in 
action. This is not an average figure. 



Chart B . B-17s Penetrations into Enemy Territory 

" Practical Bange Capability " (shown in red) is a coined term mean- 
ing "the range of the aircraft after altitude assembly, flying in forma- 
tion, at given settings, directly into enemy territory, and withdrawing 
on the reciprocal route." This range represents the approximate maximum 
penetration which the commander- can expect from his aircraft and crews 
under those specific conditions. 

" Demonstrated Bange Capability " (shown in black) is another coined 
term meaning "the maximum penetration during the period indicated, 
demonstrated to the enemy as our capability." 

These demonstrated range capabilities will be found to have a 
correlation with the range of American escort fighters (shown in Charts 
A and B, page 97). In the first half of the war, Eighth Air Force bombers 
flew varying penetrations beyond escort range of progressively increasing 
depth. As the enemy improved his powers of interception, bombers were 
forced to conform more closely to the range and strength of the escort 
force. 

The phases of enemy disposition (shown in Charts A on pages 107, 
111, 119, 127 and 135 and in Charts A and B on page 141) will be found 
to be the resultant of our "demonstrated range capability" and the 
major enemy target areas, (shown in Chart A, page 105). This is true 
except for the last enemy disposition shown (Chart B, page 141) when 
Allied invasion forces dominated enemy air dispositions during the 
crucial beach assault phase. 



91 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



continue functioning after many hits by enemy 
guns. It -will fly to 30,000 feet and still 
hold formation. 

Its chief limitations are: first it has 
poor pilot visibility, which makes formation 
flying difficult; and second, it catches fire 
fairly easily when struck by enemy fire, either 
fighter or flak. Both of these characteristics 
were known; but no additional improvements were 
practicable which would not reduce overall 
combat capabilities. 



A further limitation came as the direct 
result of over loading. The B-17 under full 
combat load is capable of only minor speed 
variation without risk to the motors and con- 
siderably increased fuel consumption. Such a 
small variation in allowable speed made the 
flying of huge formations very difficult, but 
the loads were necessary for exploitation of 
the airplane. 



The 3-24 or Liberator 

The significant differences between the 
B-24 and the B-17 are: The. B-24 is slightly 
faster; is not quite so stable in flight at 
high altitudes; has poorer visibility; and is 
slightly more vulnerable to enemy fire. It 
carries a slightly larger bomb load, and it has 
greater range of flight; for its standard tanks 
take it nearly as far as the B-17 with extra 
wing tanks. vYith wing tanks in the B-24, its 
range is even further extended. 

The Crew 

The performance of a bomber crew depends 
largely on the amount of training received, and 
the amount of training possible in war time is 
limited by many factors. The goal is not 
theoretical perfection, but rather adequacy to 
defeat the enemy. 

A summary of training, based on experience 
in the European Theater may have some value. 

Pilots received the most adequate training 
of the officer crew members. A higher degree 
of competence and experience instilled into 
navigators and bombardiers before they arrived 
in the Theater of Operations might have paid 



profitable dividends. This was particularly 
true because of the limited opportunity for 
additional training in the theater. Virtually 
all suitable weather was used to fly operational 
missions. There was less opportunity to check 
performance on combat missions than in training 
practice . 



The same was true of -the enlisted personnel 
as of the officers. Gunnery performance could 
have been stepped-up faster in training than was 
possible in combat, because errors in perform- 
ance can be discovered and corrected in training 
which rarely can be in combat. The high returns 
from skillful operation of gun turrets, diffi- 
cult of manipulation, indicated that training 
of gun- turret operators before arrival in a 
theater could be expanded with profit. 

Radio operators, upon arrival in the 
United Kingdom found a multitude of devices and 
techniques in use which were new to them. In- 
experience with the equipment and devices in 
use in the theater and limited opportunity for 
further training, handicapped the Eighth's 
communicati ons . 

Units which strayed from the main column 
of bombers on missions were a source of a high 
percentage of total bomber losses during much 
of the war. To what extent such deviations 
from course could have been prevented by a 
high level of performance in navigation and 
communications is problematical. But any 
improvement would have tended to reduce the 
total loss. 

The Bomber Formations 

To oppose German fighter defenses effect- 
ively during daylight penetrations over the 
continent, large bomber formations Yfere tactic- 
ally necessary for the massing of defensive 
fire against concentrated fighter attacks, and 
to increase the capabilities of our escort 
fighters. 

Certain disadvantages, however, had to be 
accepted. For instance, on direct penetrations 
during the decisive phase of the air war it 
took two -and -one -ha If hours to assemble a 
formation and reach enemy territory. This, as 
mentioned in the previous section, gave the 
enemy early warning of an impending operation. 



Formation flying restricted maneuverability 
too, with a result that evasive action was 
limited. 

Formations presented better targets to 
enemy anti-aircraft fire than single aircraft. 
The requirements of formation flying limited 
the altitude of flight. 

Enemy flak strength and disposition forced 
the Eighth Air Force to fly mostly column 
formations throughout all of German held 
Europe. Within this column the propellor-Wash 
from huge formations required extended spacing 
between units, thus elongating the column of 
bombers and thereby increasing the difficulties 
of escorting fighters. 

Our Bomber Force 

Capabilities of the bomber force of the 
Eighth Air Force as a whole continued to expand 
until June 1944.. It was early discovered that 
bomber fire power alone was insufficient defense 
against as determined a fighting force as the 
German Air Force. Even had our bomber force 
been the size later attained, it would have been 
unable to penetrate unescorted to targets deep 
in Germany without suffering prohibitive losses. 
Additional fire power, both mobile (relative to 
the bombers) and flexible, was required. 

Hence, capabilities of the bomber force 
were geared almost directly to fighter escort. 
Yiihen sufficient long-range fighters were avail- 
able, the bomber force could penetrate to deep 
objectives. Before the arrival of long-range 
fighters, the few attempts of the Eighth Air 
Force to penetrate enemy defenses to depth 
beyond escort range met with large losses. Such 
operations could not be sustained. 

Bomber formations represent units tactic- 
ally defensive. They have all of the inherent 
disadvantages of the defensive. The enemy 
fighter force, with superior performance, can 
effect a concentration at will against that 
portion of a column which he thinks he can 
defeat. A counter to this enemy capability had 
to be provided in order to survive sustained 
operations involving deep penetrations of 
Germany's strong fighter defenses. The escort- 
ing fighter was the Eighth Air Force's solution. 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 9U) 



92 




Chart A . Certain Individual L osses C orrros.red to Average Daily Losses 

In this chart, certain bomber losses which were large, for that 
period of the war, axe compared to the average bomber losses for the 
month. The average was obtained by taking the total number of bombers 
lost for the month and dividing by the number of days on which missions 
were flown. Losses were those reported plus Category E damage. 

October 19^3- was the month of largest average loss by the Eighth 
Air Force. An average of 28 bombers per mission was lost. Immediately 
thereafter average losses drop and fluctuate between 10 and 20 bombers 
per mission, for the rest of the war. 

Two facts are noteworthy: In October 19^3 the period of deep 
penetration far beyond the range of escort ended. For a short time, 
penetrations were considerably reduced. By January 19^+, long-range 
escort fighters began to be available in increasing volume. In February 
19^-1 for the first time, deep -penetrations could be flown with part of 
the escort force accomoanying the bombers during the entire route. 

The largest loss for any single mission was on 6 March, Ijkk when 
72 bombers were lost during an attack on Berlin. But the bomber force 
had- grown to such proportions that, despite 23 missions flown during 
March 19^-. the average loss per mission was only 15 bombers. 



CERTAIN INDIVIDUAL LOSSES ASA 
PERCENTAGE OF AIRCRAFT BOMBINC 



" " SX t ^^ion A ( i Bo"£V l ' in, f EICHTH A.F. 

I HEAVY BOMBERS 

Total Lou For Each Month £ 

During th« Month. U f -• 

IS, s 




Chart B . Certain Individual Losses as a Percentage of Aircraft Bombing 

Here, data presented on the previous chart are related to the size 
of the attacking bomber force. To illustrate, on ik October I9U3, when 
66 bombers were lost, this number represented 22 percent of the aircraft 
bombing at Schweinfurt on that day. Similarly, an average of 2S bombers 
was lost per mission, during October 19^3. and this represented just 
over 10 Toercent of the average number of bombers attacking targets each 
mission during that month. 

This tells the story of the Air War with Germany in terms of per- 
centage losses. In 19^3, when the Eighth Air Force's force of bombers 
was small and escort short range, the enemy could inflict losses of 
around ~\\ percent of the number of our aircraft actually bombing targets. 
In the 6 months ending with April 19Uh, he could inflict average losses 
per mission of around U percent of the force bombing. This drop was 
caused by advant of long range escort, actual growth of our bomber force, 
and great relative growth compared to enemy fighter opposition. It was 
accomplished in snite of the fact that the number of days of operation 
had been stepped up from about g per month to over 20 per month in 
March and April, IpUU. 

For the rest of I9UU and 19^5, losses averaged only 2 percent per 
mission of the force bombing. Such a percentage loss indicates harass- 
ing attacks by the enemy rather than effective opposition. 



93 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



Since the bulk of the air war took place 
over enemy territory, the enemy's knowledge of 
the situation during a mission greatly exceeded 
our own. The German reporting system gave 
enemy fighter controllers a fairly clear 
picture of the situation, while the Eighth's 
knowledge of the enemy was limited at first to 
visual observation from each aircraft, and to 
some limited interchange of information by 
radio between the units . The enemy fighters 
were constantly advised by their controllers 
of the size, location, and direction of flight 
of each of our bomber formations and fighter 
units. Eighth Air Force fighters on the other 
hand, were not warned of enemy fighters 
approaching the bombers until these came within 
visual range. 

Late in the war, after the Allies had 
occupied extensive territory in Europe, a 
fighter control system was used by the Allied 
Forces which gave excellent results as far as 
200 miles into Germany. It was called Microwave 
Early Warning, and immediately gave radar ex- 
tension to the eyes of our fighter pilots. With 
this control the Eighth Air Force was able to 
fight with better information within the limit 
of radar range. 

Another source of intelligence paid 
dividends. This was airborne "Y" Service, or 
radio equipment to intercept enemy control 
messages. The information obtained from this 
airborne "Y" was used largely after the mission 
to gain knowledge of enemy order of battle, 
tactics and control methods. Airborne radio 
interception provides a lucrative field 1'or 
battle intelligence. Its use was limited in 
the European Theater, both by the initial lack 
of equipment and of trained German-speaking 
operating personnel. 

Rate of Bombing Operations 

At the beginning of the war the number of 
bombing operations per month by the Eighth Air 
Force was severely restricted by weather and 
lack of escort range. Toward the end of the 
war the weather problem had largely been over- 
come (see Section 2 of this chapter), and the 
range and number of escort were such that 
Eighth Air Force bombers had the capability of 
attacking any target in Germany. 



Bombing Range 

The demonstrated range of our bomber 
forces varied in the different phases of the 
war, (for a detailed discussion see Section 4 
of this chapter). From August to December 1942, 
the Eighth Air Force was limited to very shallow 
attacks up to 50 miles beyond the enemy coast 
line. On 12 December 1942, an attack was made 
on Romilly, -thereby effecting a penetration of 
160 miles into enemy territory. This did not 
represent addition of new equipment but resulted 
in part from increased size of the bomber force. 
Until 24 April 1945, this penetration was not 
exceeded. 

On 25 April 1943, an attack was made at 
Rostock indicating that the Eighth Air Force 
had extended its old capability. 

On IV August 1943, the Eighth Air Force 
made attacks on Regensburg and Schweinfurt. The 
force sent to Regensburg, equipped with Tokyo 
tanks, returned, not to England, but to Africa. 
This force demonstrated the capability, through 
use of such tanks, of attacking anything in 
Western Germany and all of France and Italy. 
The force penetrating to Schweinfurt consisted 
of B-17s with standard tanks. It returned to 
England. This force demonstrated the capa- 
bility of penetrating some 320 miles into enemy 
territory and returning to the United Kingdom. 
This was not exceeded until 20 February 1944. 
However, this first attack on Schweinfurt, and 
a later attack on 14 October 1943, both resulted 
in such severe bomber losses that the Eighth's 
bomber force clearly could not carry on sus- 
tained operations of this nature. After both 
missions, a period of repair and recuperation 
was necessary before attempting another large 
scale attack. 

On 20 February 1944, Eighth Air Force 
bomber formations, accompanied by long-range 
escort, penetrated to Leipzig. Then on 19 
March 1944, bombers with escort attacked 
Munich, demonstrating a new range capability of 
450 miles penetration into enemy territory. 
This was not exceeded until June 1944. 

On 21 June 1944, while several Task Forces 
i'lew against oil targets near Leipzig, one of 
the forces, accompanied by P-51 escort, attack- 
ed an oil plant at Ruhland, north of Dresden, 



and continued eastward to the Russian air base 
at Poltava. This force showed to the Germans 
that the Eighth Air Force now was capable of 
attacking anything in Germany. 

Eighth Air Force - Fighters 

The Fighter Force of the Eighth Air Force 
may be divided into two distinct categories: 
the shorter ranged P-47s (Thunderbolts) and the 
longer ranged P-38 (Lightning) and P-51 
(Mustang). 

The P-47 or Thunderbolt 

The range of the P-47 was variable, 
depending upon the size of the external fuel 
tank carried (see Chart A, page 97). Its 
maximum range for escort purposes was 475 miles 
from base, reaching, roughly, to Magdeburg. 
This range was possible only when two 108 
gallon wing tanks were carried. 

The roomy cockpit of the P-47 provided 
comparative comfort and ease for the pilot. 
Firepower of this aircraft was great: 8 machine 
guns of .50 calibre. On level flight the air- 
craft was the least speedy of American fighters, 
but it was the fastest in a dive. 

The P-47 was very rugged and could stand 
considerable battle damage. Its radial engine 
would function even after many hits by enemy 
fire. Its combat characteristics were good in 
spite of the aircraft's great weight. 

The P-38 or Lightning 

The P-38 equipped with two 108 gallon wing 
tanks, could escort as far as 585 miles from 
base (see Chart B, page 97). The cockpit was 
fairly comfortable. The firepower consisted of 
four .50 calibre machine guns and one 20 ram. 
cannon. The aircraft was fast in level flight 
and had the best climb of American fighters. 
It dived well. Its combat characteristics were 
good; exceedingly fast turns could be made by 
varying the speed of its two motors. 

Its distinctive appearance sometimes was 
a serious disadvantage in combat, for an enemy 
pilot easily could recognize the aircraft long 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 96) 



94 



FIGHTERS 

EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



EFFECTIVE STRENGTH (av. MO.) 

RESERVE (AV. PER MISSION) 

_ DISPATCHED <av. per mission) 
ABORTIVES (AV. PER MISSION) 
_ EFFECTIVE SORTIES (AV.permiss 



_ TOTAL LOSS (FOR THE MONTH) 




Al S 10 IN I 
942 



JIFIMIAIMIJ I J I A I 5 10 I N I D 

943 



jIP IMIA IMIJ U I Al SIOINID 
1944 



J IP IMIA I 
945 



NUMBER OF OPERATIONAL FIGHTERS 

(MONTHLY AVERAGE -BY TYPES) 

EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



s I 




Chart A . Fighters - Eighth Air Force . 

Effective Strength is an average figure for each month. This shows 
the growth of our operating fighter force. 

Dispatched and effective sorties are both given on a per mission 
basis. The difference between dispatched and effective sorties gives the 
number of abortives averaged per mission during the month. 

Total loss for the month is the number of fighters lost to enemy 
action or otherwise during sorties into enemy territory. 



Chart B . Number of Operational Fighters . 

Early growth of our fighter force was limited to one type, P-47s, 
which at that time were of limited range. 

In January, 1944, P-38s began to make their appearance, and in 
February, P-51s appeared. The special utility of the P-51 for the re- 
quirements of this theater, caused it to be preferred for most duties to 
the other two types. Similarly, there were certain deficiencies in the 
P-38 for the specialized uses in the air war in this theater which caused 
its use to be discontinued. 

Toward the end of the war in Europe, the P-47 had been improved to 
the point where it could make sweeps across enemy territory, even flying 
beyond Berlin. Because of its formidable firepower, rugged construction, 
and the persistent functioning of its air-cooled radial engine, even 
after much damage by enemy fire, the P-47 was never eliminated but con- 
tinued to give excellent results in skilled hands to the end of the war. 

(Notes P-38s had been delivered to the Eighth Air Force in 1942 in small 
numbers, but they were then withdrawn for use in the African cam- 
paign before they could be used for escort in the European Theater 
of Operations). 



95 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



before a P-38 pilot could recognize the enemy. 
This frequently cost the P-38 initiative in 
combat. 

Although the aircraft had excellent per- 
formance at low and medium altitudes, this 
deteriorated a high altitudes. 



The most serious disadvantage of the P-38 
was the vulnerability of its liquid-cooled 
engines to enemy fire. An enemy bullet in the 
cooling system resulting in loss of the coolant 
fluid promptly eliminated that engine. The 
P-38 could fly reasonably well with a single 
engine, however, and such an accident did not 
necessarily mean the loss of aircraft and 
pilot. 



T he P-51 or Mustang 

The P-51 was the outstanding escort air- 
craft in the aerial war with Germany. 'With two 
108 gallon wing tanks it could escort 850 miles 
from its base (see Chart B, page 97). On one 
occasion P-51 escorts met bombers deep in 
Poland, flew escort north to the Baltic and all 
the way back leaving the bombers only after the 
west coast of Denmark had been crossed, as 
mentioned earlier. P-51s escorted the bombers 
on the shuttle mission to Russia. 

The P-51 was the fastest Eighth Air Force 
fighter in level flight, and it also was 
fastest at high altitudes. Its cockpit was 
fairly comfortable, and the aircraft was highly 
maneuverable. 



The fire power 
of all our lighters 
50 calibre mac}iir:e 
number rose to six. 



of the P-51 was the least 

Larly models carried four 
;uns. Later in the war the 



The most serious disadvantages of the P-51 
were that its airframe was the let.st rugged of 
the three, and that its single liquid-cooled 
engine made it the most vulnerable to enemy 
fire. 

The combined capabilities of the P-51 made 
it far the best all-round escort aircraft but 
the great strength and fire power of the P-47 
made it the most feared within its range, both 
for escort and for strafing. 



Capabilities of Enemy Fighters 

The capabilities of the German Air Force 
will be treated by considering the following 
factors: 

(a) Enemy Fighter Aircraft. 

(b) Armament and Effectiveness of Enemy 
Fighters. 

(c) Air Crews and their Training. 

(d) War Experience of the German Air 
Force. 

(e) The Enemy Fighter Control System. 

(f) Enemy Pilot Morale. 

(g) Factors in Enemy Fighter Dispositions. 

(a) Enemy Fighter Aircraft 

There are four main classes of enemy fight- 
ers to be considered; single-engine fighters, 
twin-engine fighters, jet and rocket powered 
aircraft. 

Single-Engine Aircraft : The great bulk 
of the enemy' s single engine fighters were 
Fy/-190s and Me-109s. 

There was very little speed difference be- 
tween the Fv_190 and fighters used by the 
Eighth Air Force although our fighters generally 
had a slight edge. The Me-109 was slightly 
faster than the F w -190 particularly at high 
altitudes, but otherwise had much the same per- 
formance. 

In general, United States fighters could 
out- dive the enemy and his could out- climb and 
out-maneuvre ours. With pilots of equal ability 
and with equally sound employment of the fighter 
forces, it might have been a fairly even fight. 
However, United States fighters had much more 
endurance and a greater weight of firepower, 
and in general were less vulnerable to opposing 
fire. And most important, the tactical employ- 
ment of Eighth Air Force fighters was much more 
sound. 

The early success of the Me-109 and 2V-190 
was a factor which acted as a deterrent to 
improvement in German fighter design. Early 
models of these fighter types had experienced 
little difficulty in Poland in the 1939 cam- 
paign. Success against the Lancaster daylight 
raid to Augsburg on k April I9U2 caused the 
enemy to develop a false feeling of invincibil- 
ity. 



When, later it became apparent that Allied 
air forces were gaining ascendency in the air 
over Germany's current orthodox typ'es of fighter 
aircraft, the enemy resorted to desperate 
efforts to accelerate the development and pro- 
duction of new radical types - the jets and 
rockets. With these designs he had strong 
hopes of outclassing our orthodox types and 
regaining air superiority over the Continent. 

Twin- Engine Aircraft : The bulk of twin- 
engine aircraft of orthodox type used by the 
enemy were Me-llOs, Ju-S8s, and Me-UlOs. 

The Me-110 and the Ju-SS, were general 
purpose fighters. They were used for night 
fighting, bombing, reconnaissance, and other 
purposes. The Me-110 was the older plane, 
slower and more vulnerable. The Ju-SS was the 
more flexible in use and faster. Neither air- 
craft was much of a threat to unescorted bomber 
formations until equipped with rocket mortars, 
which made them 'highly lethal weapons. The 
advent of P-51 and P-38 long range escort made 
Germany's orthodox twin-engine fighters obsolete 
rapidly. 

The Me-1+10 represented an improvement in 
speed end firepower over the old Me-110; but 
its advantages were not sufficient to cope with 
the Eighth Air Force's fighter escort. Rocket 
firing Me-H-lOs, if not faced by escort fighters, 
were powerful weapons against our bomber forma- 
tions. Had the Me-UlO been equipped with ade- 
quate range finding devices, the rocket mortar, 
already a highly lethal weapon, would have been 
even more, effective. 

Jet Propelled Aircraft : The jet propelled 
Me-262 in time, undoubtedly, would have become 
a very serious threat, demanding a counter 
weapon of similar type in the Allied forces. 
Jet propulsion still was in an experimental 
stage. United States air successes, however, 
precipitated an attempt to make ^production 
models for immediate war use despite many im- 
perfections. The Me-2b2 had high speed, well 
beyond the speed range of our fighters, and 
its endurance was at least 2-| hours. Its 
maneuverability was good for its speed, and 
its firepower, consisting largely of 30 mm. 
cannon, was lethal against our bombers but was 
not a match for our .50 calibre machine guns, 
in fighter against fighter combats. Our wea- 
pons had higher muzzel velocity, rate of fire, 
and volume of ammunition. The 30 mm. cannon 
was designed primarily to attack bombers. 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 98) 



96 




Chart A . P-47 Escort Ranges . 

In May 1943, P-47s began to join the Spitfires in escorting Eighth 
Bomber Command's missions. At the start, their range was about as re- 
stricted as the Spitfire. A distance of around 175 miles from Newmarket 
or Salisbury and return, was about their maximum range. 

During the months of May and June, our fighter pilots gained ex- 
perience, and modifications to equipment now gave them additional con- 
fidence in their aircraft. During June 1943, the radius of action of the 
P-47 was expanded to 230 miles from the base area. 

The first practical drop tanks of 75 gallons fuel capacity were 
added in July 1943. The radius of action now was extended to 540 miles 
from bases. The tactical surprise gained by the increased range was used 
to good advantage, enemy aircraft were shot down in larger numbers on the 
first "two days it was demonstrated. 

In August 1343, 108 gallon belly tanks extended the radius of action 
to 375 miles from bases. 

February 1944 saw the 150 gallon belly tank in action again extend- 
ing the radius of the P-47 to 425 miles . In the same month, earlier ex- 
periments came to fruitions two 150 gallon tanks were mounted on the 
wings of the P-47, giving them their ultimate escort radius of 475 miles . 

P-47s equipped with wing tanks could fly much further than the 
ranges given above when not on escort duty. During sweeps, they ranged 
even beyond Berlin. 



Chart B . P-51. and P-38 Escort Ranges . 

P-38s began escorting in small numbers in November 1943. Equipped 
with two wing tanks of 75 gallons each, the P-38 could escort 520 miles 
from base. 

In February 1944, two wing tanks of 108 gallons each came into use. 
With this increased fuel, radius of action of the P-38 was extended to 
585 miles from base. 

P-51s . In January 1944, a few P-51s began escort duty. Without 
external tanks, the P-51 could escort to a point 475 miles from base. It 
is noteworthy that this is the same as the ultimate escort range of the 
P-47 equipped with two 108 gallon wing tanks. 

In March 1944, both 75 gallon and 108 gallon wing tanks became 
available. With two 75 gallon wing tanks, the P-51 could escort to a 
point 650 miles from base. With two 108 gallon wing tanks, it developed 
the phenomenal escort range of 850 miles . 

With such equipment, the P-51 permitted the exploitation of the full 
range capabilities of the heavy bomber force. 

(Note; Escort ranges given for our three types of fighters are believed 
to be fair comparisons). 



97 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



The premature commitment of the Me-262 
resulted in frequent accidents in training 
with the loss of highly skilled pilots, which 
the enemy, at the time, could ill afford to 
lose. Diversion of a portion of his Me-262s 
to strafing and dive 'bombing further reduced 
the effectiveness .of this new weapon against 
our bombing operations. 

Rocket Propelled Aircraft : The rocket 
propelled Me-1 63 represents an outstanding 
failure of the enemy. Although the Me-163 
demonstrated remarkable speed at full power, 
endurance was exceedingly brief, being limited 
to some 10 to 12 minutes of full power flight. 
It lacked maneuverability under power but could 
glide extensively. If the pilot used a long 
glide after a short burst of power, the air- 
craft could be flown something over an hour. 
This represented a distinct range limitation. 
Because of special fuel and equipment required 
at bases, the Me-163 was a weapon which had to 
be fired from a point at objectives within its 
limited range. Even had the Me-163 mounted 
far heavier weapons, its limitations of range 
and maneuverability would have given it little 
improvement in effectiveness. As it was, many 
M&-I63S were shot down by orthodox fighters 
with negligible success on the part of the 
Me-163. 



(b ) Armament and Effectiveness of En emy 

Fighters. (See Charts A and B Page 9 9 ) 



3y the beginning of l^H-h the policy adopt- 
ed by the German Air Force High Command was to 
direct fighters at Eighth Air Force bombers and 
avoid or evade the escort. Later, near the end 
of the war, German fighters assigned to inter- 
cept bombers received fighter escort, designed 
to engage our fighters while the bombers were 
under attack. With this objective - bomber 
destruction - the Germans continually increased 
the calibre of weapons, as already has been 
noted in connection with the Me-262. These 
larger weapons, while more effective against 
our bombers, reduced effectiveness against 
fighters. 



Chart B, Armament of Enemy Fighters, 
page 99, shows that the ratio of cannon fire 
to machine gun fire from enemy fighters in- 
creased about 300 percent in just two vears. 



The number of bombers known to be destroyed by 
enemy fighter attack rose strongly. This was 
due to increased weight of armament, increased 
numbers of enemy fighters and, also, to the 
increased number of bombers subjected to attack. 

The other chart on the same page under- 
lines this conclusion (See Chart A, Effective- 
ness of Enemy Fighters, page 99). Bombers 
known to be lost to enemy fighter attack in- 
creased in about the same ratio as the increas- 
ed weight of his armament. But the percentage 
of bombers which attacked targets in enemy 
territory and which were destroyed by enemy 
aircraft, fell sharply in the period September- 
December 19^3 snd- continued downward throughout 
the rest of the war. In the last half of ljkk, 
the percentage became negligible. The growing 
weight of attack by Eighth Air Force bombers 
and fighters, together with improved tactics 
of employment, steadily robbed the enemy of 
his ability to make effective interception and 
never permitted him to recover. 

(c) Air Crews and their Training 

By the early spring of 19^. it became 
apparent to the Eighth Air Force that the ex- 
perience level of German fighter pilots of that 
date was well below that of the pilots of I9H2. 
Their experience and aggressiveness was not 
adequate to engage an average Eighth Air Force 
fighter pilot on anything like equal terms. 

The background to this situation is not 
entirely clear at this time. As far as can be 
determined, the German Air Force never permitt- 
ed a numerical shortage of pilots to render any 
first-line units non-operational for any extend- 
ed period. It became increasingly apparent 
that throughout the war the enemy preferred to 
compromise with training standards in preference 
to allowing operational strength to diminish. 
The adoption of this policy ultimately vitiated 
the combat capabilities of the German Air Force. 

In order to supply the pilots required by 
operational units in adequate numbers, the 
Germans resorted to two main devices: 

(l) Between I9U2 and I9HI+ training hours 
in the air which a new fighter pilot received 
before joining his operational unit, dropped 
from 210 to 112. The curtailment was effected 
as follows: 



19^2 19^3 19^ 



"A" (Elementary Fly- 
ing Training) School 


100 


70 


52 


Fighter School 


60 


60 


to 


Operational Training 
Pool 


-50 


16-lS 


20 


Total Hours: 


210 


136-1 38 


112 



(2) In the early part of lg^U, a conver- 
sion to fighter pilots of bomber pilots, staff 
pilots, and instructors from schools, was 
commenced. This conversion course was com- 
pressed into approximately one month of train- 
ing, at the end of which the pilot reported to 
an operational fighter unit, 

A flow of "trained" pilots to operational 
units was maintained sufficient to keep the 
supply of pilots for aircraft in balance. 
However, the quality of the pilots became pro- 
gressively worse. This progressive deteriora- 
tion may be explained by (a) the shortening of 
the training program and (b) the use of men who 
originally had been considered more suitable 
for operations in types of aircraft other than 
fighters. 

In addition the following factors also had 
the effect of lowering operational efficiency 
of fighter units: 

(l). The German High Command did not stick 
to a consistent policy of operations for its 
fighters. Early in 19I+2 the German fighter 
pilot frequently was in air combat against 
Allied fighters. When the threat of attack by 
heavy bombers became acute, for a time all 
training and other efforts were directed toward 
developing the best method of attacking bo&bers. 
German pilots were ordered to pay no attention 
to Allied fighters, but to attack four-engine 
"heavies" and in some cases the mediums. Later 
many fighter pilots were assigned to ground 
support missions. German pilots soon lost the 
art of "dogfighting". and became no match for 
the Allied pilots who continually perfected 
their individual fighter versus fighter tactics. 
From time to time German fighters were detailed 
to attack the escorting fighters. When they 
did so, their lack of training for this Job 
became more evident. 

(COUTntUED OH PAGE 100) 



96 



EFFECTIVENESS OF ENEMY FIGHTERS 

| bombers lost to E/A per lOO combats with E/A 
— % of bombers attacking which were hit by E/A 



18.2 



177 




Later data 
insignificant 
too tew samples. 



4 o.2 0.3 



I 



1942 ' 1943 " ■ ' "944 ' ■ I 1945 

AUG.- DEC. I JAN.-APR. MAY-AUG. SEPT-DEC ' J-F M-A M-J J-A S-O N-D 1 



ARMAMENT OF ENEMY FIGHTERS 



Number of cannon hits per 
IOO machine gun hits in 
bombers returning which 
were damaged by enemy 
fighters. 

351 

— Number of bombers 
known lost to E/A 




Later data 
insignificant 
too few samples 



Later data 
insignificant 
cause of losses 
less certain. 



1 JAN.- APR. MAY-AUG. SEPT.-DEC! J-F 



1944 
M-J 



1 1945 



Chart A . Bff ectiveness of Enemy Fighters 

The rise in the number of "bomhers destroyed per hundred comhats was 
due to the increasing destructive power of the individual enemy fighter. 
This destructive power resulted in part, from "better enemy tactics, and 
in part from increased weight of armament of enemy fighters, (as describ- 
ed in the following chart). 

The solid line on the above chart is the "best measure of the 
effectiveness of the enemy fighter force as a whole in intercepting our 
"bomhers. 

It should he noted that the percentage of "bombers attacking which 
were hit "by enemy aircraft increased during the period when growth of the 
Eighth Air Force's "bomber force was relatively slow, and the German Fight- 
er Force was expanding rapidly. But after the speed-up in growth of the 
force in the Fall of I9U3, and after the "beginning of attacks on enemy 
aircraft plants, the enemy rapidly lost out in the race for air supremacy. 
The steep drop in the percentage of "bomhers which were only hit "by enemy 
fighters shows how rapidly they lost the power of anything like effective 
opposition, to our "bomhing. 



Chart B . Armament of Enemy Fjg-hters 

The rise in the number of cannon hits per 100 machine gun hits 
indicated that the enemy fighter force resorted to heavier and heavier 
armament in an attempt to halt the Eighth Air Force bombing attacks. 

It is apparent that the numher of "bomhers known to have "been lost 
to enemy aircraft attack has some relationship to the percentage of 
cannon strikes on the "bombers per 100 machine gun hits. That is to 'say, 
the enemy's policy of increasing the weight of his armament did result 
in destruction of a larger numher of "bombers. But, as pointed out in 
Chapter 5. Section 3> this increase of armament in combination with 
several other factors, caused German Air Force fighters to "become infer- 
ior in fighter against fighter combats. 

Note: That the time-periods chosen in the chart were of varying 
lengths. The rate of change in armaments and losses therefore, 
is not shown in this chart. 



99 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



(2) Lack of gasoline was a factor affect- 
ing the efficiency of the German Fighter Force. 
Fuel allotments for training schools continually 
were cut to supply first line units. Pilots 
posted to operational units often were prohibit- 
ed from using gasoline for further training. 

(3) Loss of experienced leaders was also 
an important factor. The change in the age 
level' of pilots in 1941-1942 -ooints to the fact 
that experienced leadership largely had been 
killed off. Effort was made to train new unit 
leaders in a course covering four to six weeks. 
The fact that none of these reached the promi- 
nence of Galland, Molders, Matoni and others, 
is an indication that such training was not 
adequate. 

( d) War Experience of the German Air Force 

Combat exoerience of German pilots at the 
beginning of the war was high, compared to other 
air forces. The Spanish Civil War had been used 
as a "proving ground" for equipment, and in the 
process, many pilots had received battle ex- 
perience. 

Further experience was gained rapidly in 
the early phases of the war. Campaign followed 
campaign, in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, 
Norway, Holland, Belgium and France. Then came 
air battles in the Balkans, and the airborne 
invasion of Crete. Next followed the campaigns 
in Libya and Egypt with the Luftwaffe playing 
a major part. 

On 22 June 1941, Hitler began his assault 
on Russia. This was a battle of great size 
over a huge and expanding territory. The 
Luftwaffe was disposed in great strength 
against the Russian Air Force. Half a year of 
large scale air warfare had taken rilace before 
America entered the war. Over a, year of the 
Russian war passed before the Eighth Air Force 
made its first diminutive raid with 12 bombers 
on 17 August 1942. 

All during this period, bombers of the 
Hoyal Air Force had been making attacks on 
German held territory and shipping. 

The German Air Force possessed extensive 
battle experience, largely gained in air war- 
fare of a tactical nature, by the time the 
Eighth Air Force began operations. 



But the massing of huge formations and 
deployment for extended air battles with bomb- 
ers having concentrated defensive firepower had 
not been experienced. The German still used 
the air weapon primarily as a tactical force in 
direct support of ground forces. 

With the inception of daylight bombing by 
the Eighth Air Force, the enemy made no immedi- 
ate effort to build up defensive strength on 
the Western Front. The invasion of North 
Africa by the Allied Forces had now forced 
Germany into ground battles on two fronts. The 
enemy placed a higher priority on these two 
fronts than on the threat which a growing bomb- 
er strength at British bases constituted, and 
he chose to deploy a large part of his air 
strength in direct sunport of these fronts. 

When the Eighth Air Force began its bomb- 
ing of targets in Occupied France, the German 
fighter pilot was a skilled and experienced 
fighter. Units like the "Abbeville Kids" will 
long be remembered as daring and aggressive 
opponents. But the tactical skill of German 
commanders did not match up with the abilities 
of their pilots. Attacks were made initially 
by small units when and where they could make 
interception. It took many months of air 
opposition to the Eighth' s invasions before 
the German Air Force indicated a trend to con- 
centrated attacks on single units of our force. 

(e) The Enemy Fighter Control System 

Early Enemy Fighter Control Methods : Dur- 
ing 1942 German Day Fighters were concerned 
mainly with the defense of targets in Northern 
France, plus a few in Belgium and Holland. In 
order to defend these areas, a small geographic 
area was assigned to a particular fighter unit, 
and the unit operated within this geographic 
boundary. There was seldom, if ever, occasion 
for enemy fighters to make two sorties during 
one operation, and rarely any need for them to 
land away from base. The problem for the enemy 
was to get his fighters off early enough to 
secure a tactical advantage before the mission 
was over. 

To aid the accomplishment of this, the 
coastal area was divided into five main day 
fighter units. Within these units were one or 
more day fighter controls, which were vested in 
a Jagdfuhrer ( Jpfu) . Each Jafu had one or more 



sectors from which the actual radio control of 
aircraft was carried on. Such radio control 
was based on information assembled -in the sector 
headquarters from Radar, Observer Corps and 
intercept of Eighth Air Force Radio Traffic. 
For the most part the controller of the actual 
aircraft which had been dispatched limited his 
control to passing information concerning the 
height, composition, course and location of 
Allied aircraft. It was left to the air command- 
er of the enemy unit to know where he was, and 
to make the best interception he could. Equip- 
ment and methods of control varied enough be- 
tween sectors to make it impracticable for 
fighters under one control to pass to the 
control of another sector. This sort of control 
must be compared to the close vectors given by 
British ground controllers to their aircraft in 
the days of the Battle of Britain to realize 
how elementary the German system was. 

Later Developments in Enemy Fighter ControL' 
As the depth of -penetration of the daylight 
heavy bomber effort increased and as the number 
of aircraft on the missions increased, the 
early method of German fighter control was 
found to be inadequate. The basic system using 
Radar detection, Observer Corps, and intercept 
of our Radio Traffic was not changed, but was 
merely extended to cover a larger area, and was 
increased in density of coverage to give more 
information. Larger areas were allotted to the 
existing Jafues; and additional Jafues were 
created in Southwest Germany, Austria, et 
cetera, where earlier there had been no organ- 
ized fighter control system. In addition, high 
headquarters - Jagddivisions and Jagdkorps - 
became operational, in the sense that these 
began coordination of the work of the Jafues. 

The control system finally came to be 
charged with the assembly of a large number of 
German aircraft in the air so that a coordinated 
attack, or series of attacks, could be delivered 
at the most opportune time. The rapidity with 
which fighters could be sent aloft was no 
longer the factor of sunreme importance. Top 
priority went rather, to early evaluation of 
the whole operation, for the purpose of deter- 
mining if any of the bomber forces was a feint, 
the probable depth of -penetration, the probable 
target, the probable withdrawal route, the 
probable depth of fighter support, and other 
relevant details. To reach conclusions of this 
type, the German senior controller, probably 
located at Jagdkorps I headquarters near Berlin, 
(CONTINUKD ON PAGE 102) 



100 



G.A.F. 




STRENGTH 




1942 



943 



1944 



V ' Im I A I 

1945 



Chart A . German Air Force on the Western Front: Strength 

German Air Force strength on the Western Front, as shown in this 
chart, was plotted from data prepared "by Air Ministry. Rarely did the 
enemy react to our attacks in greater numbers than would have "been 
anticipated from the disposition estimates. 

Enemy twin- engine Day Fighters made their appearance and disappeared 
again within the space of a year. With the advent of long-range escort 
fighters, they quickly "became obsolete. 

Single-engine Night Fighters "began to appear in the latter half of 
1943. They absorbed all the increment to, single-engine fighter strength 
for several months. But after April 1944, they were used increasingly 
for day fighting. In October 1944, they were officially labelled as 
straight day fighters. 

Major Factors in Changes in Strength were (l) rate of loss; (2) rate 
of replacement; (3) movements to and from other fronts. 



G.A.F. 

PRODUCTION OF FIGHTERS 



S/E + T/E AIRCRAFT (AIR MIN.) 

S/E AIRCRAFT (AIR MIN.) 

S/E PRODUCTION 

(GERMAN FIGURES) 

GERMAN PLANNED PRODUCTION 
S/E+T/E 




~Ta~1 



1942 



I F ' M I A I M I J I J I A I S ■ > N I D I 

1943 



>M I A ' M I J 



Chart B . German Air Force - Production of Fighters 

Figures for the enemy production of single- engine and twin- engine 
fighters are British Air Ministry's estimates, made under limitations on 
accuracy imposed "by war. These figures are "believed to understate the 
fact. 

Figures also are shown which were quoted in a letter from Speer, 
Heichsminister for Production, to Beichsfuhrer Hitler. Until corrobora- 
tory evidence becomes available, these figures must be suspected of 
padding. 

Single-engine fighter production probably was somewhere between 
the Air Ministry figures and the figures given by Speer. 

Planned Production . There were many German plans for fighter pro- 
duction during the war, but one regarded by captured German experts as 
having been capable of attainment is shown to illustrate the effect on 
fighter production by Eighth Air Force bombing. 



1944 



. 2000 




■t«yy/»{V.%V.'y;V/V.vv'.*t*i :*.*.V.'.» ^V 



j IP I m I A I M I j IJ I AISl6lN l f 
1943 




1944 



1945 



Chart C . Enemy Aircraft Destroyed in Combat 

Bomber Claims: Though every effort was made to eliminate duplicate 
claims, the problem never was solved satisfactorily. 

.One estimate of a possible minimum of enemy aircraft destroyed by 
our bombers is shown as "re- evaluated claims." 

Fighter Claims of enemy aircraft destroyed were added to the bomber 
claims. Hence, fighter claims alone are shown as the difference between 
the two solid lines. 

Fighter claims are not subject to nearly as much error as bomber 
claims. Claim- evaluators have movie films of the fights to aid them. 
There may be some factor of error in fighter claims, but it is believed 
that fighter claims generally are close to the truth. 



101 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



had the "benefit of information from hie lower 
echelons. This information was undoubtedly 
passed over lend lines also, hut a very con- 
siderable part of it was passed by radio to the 
senior control. In many cases it was consolid- 
ated and passed out again by radio as a "Running 
Commentary", to keep the fighters and all ground 
echelons informed of the progress of the opera- 
tion. 

As additional aid, to early evaluation, 
the German senior controller developed the use 
of spotter and observer aircraft, the sole 
function of which was to obtain visual contact 
with the Allied force and report by radio all 
pertinent data about it. Other factors which 
undoubtedly were of great assistance to timely 
interpretation of our operations were knowledge 
of weather over Germany, which allowed the 
G-erman controller to limit the places to which 
the operation might go, the known target 
priorities of the Eighth Air Force and know- 
ledge of usual approach and withdrawal routes. 

With all this information and an added 
"feel" based on experience, the German Senior 
Controller made and executed his plans. Over 
the entire course of the air war, the effect- 
ive range of the Eighth's fighter escort had a 
powerful influence on these defensive plans. 
Prior to mid-February I9W+, when P- 51s became 
operational, the main effort of German single- 
engine aircraft in the area west of the German 
border was to turn back escorting fighters, so 
that from the G-erman border on to the target, 
the main defenses could go into operation. 
These defenses consisted of single- engine air- 
craft, as well as twin-engine day and night 
fighters. Emphasis clearly was on defense of 
the approaches to Central Germany, as opposed 
to defense of occupied territory. There was 
no grea.t need for the twin-engine fighters to 
assemble with the single-engine fighters be- 
cause the Eighth's escort which would have been 
lethal against the "twins" turned back at the 
German border. However, there was substantial 
need for single-engine coastal aircraft to 
assemble. To accomplish this coastal assembly 
a single coastal control frecuently assembled, 
vectored and controlled a number of aircraft 
from different sectors of Jafues. To do this 
a single radio frequency for all German single- 
engine fighters came into use. This resulted 
in substantial increase in flexibility of con- 
trol of these coastal based fighters and rapid 
reinforcement of one area by another. 



When long range fighters of the Eighth Air 
Force began to go all the way to deep targets, 
the areas of close control, assembly and attack 
moved eastward. The defensive system was not 
radically changed, but the first line of de- 
fense by single-engine fighters was moved east- 
ward to the Dummer Lake, Hamburg and Kiel areas. 
The attack staged by these fighters, (apparently 
on the initiative of the lower command echelon) 
was, for a limited period of time for the pur- 
pose of interfering with fighter escort as much 
as possible. Behind this single-engine assembly 
came the assembly of both single-engine and 
twin-engine fighters. Sectors, Jafues and 
Jagddivisions boundaries were disregarded. The 
whole effort of German control was to assemble 
two or more groups of aircraft along the bomber 
route to deliver mass attacks. 

Close control for this type of operation 
was not essential. Good visual landmarks, and 
in some cases radio homing devices, were the 
elements necessary for the assemblies. There- 
fore, the Running Commentary which kept various 
echelons advised as to progress of the opera- 
tion became the major source of .information. 
When assembly was completed, .German fighters 
were directed toward the bomber stream, and the 
effectiveness of subsequent attacks usually was 
related closely to how well the German Senior 
Controller had analyzed the bomber mission in 
advance. There was little chance to change the 
interception -olan if the analysis was wrong. 
Likewise, the mass of German fighters had small 
need of highly accurate vectors or detailed 
directives of attack because the bomber stream 
was visible to them at a distance. 

German controllers did manage from time to 
time to exploit unexpected Eighth Air Force 
errors such as a formation of bombers off 
course or lacking escort. It is evident, 
however, that the main concern of the enemy 
control system at this stage of the war was to 
assemble fighter aircraft in large formations 
which could deliver massive assaults on the 
bomber stream. 

The end of this pariod came in the spring 
of 19M+ when the German High Command realized 
that his twin-engine fighters were no longer an 
asset, because of their vulnerability to our 
fighters. For all practical purposes these 
"twins" became non-operational, except in areas 
east of Berlin and around Vienna. 



During the final phase of the air war, 
just before and after invasion, when the 
Eighth' s long range escort had developed to a 
point where full escort coverage could be given 
over the entire bomber route, the German fighter 
control adopted guerrilla tactics and occasion- 
ally achieved local superiority. Flights of 
German fighters were directed to distant loca- 
tions for the purpose of concentrating one 
effective defensive striking force. No regard 
was paid to any boundaries. There was extensive 
use of a single operational radio freouency 
over the whole of Germany, and greater efficien- 
cy was developed in observing, shadowing and 
raid reporting. A wandering or unescorted 
bomber formation was quickly singled out, and 
made the objective of the largest force of 
enemy fighters possible. This pre-occupation 
with a single formation frecuently resulted in 
the main bomber formation being unouposed. No 
additional control aids are known by which this 
type of interception was achieved. It seems 
to have been carried out through use in a more 
effective way of the regular control system 
and by a wider exchange of information between 
air observers, .ground observers, radar and 
radio intercept operators and controllers. 

(f) Enemy Pilot Morale 

In 19^2, the morale of German fighter 
pilots was very high. They were the elite of 
the German armed forces. Successful aces were 
highly publicized, and the Luftwaffe was lavish 
with decorations. The Luftwaffe had been more 
than a match for all- comers - with one exception: 
the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain. 

That defeat must have perplexed the Luft- 
waffe sorely. The pilots had been told that 
the British had only a handful of fighters. 
Yet, whenever German raids took place over 
England, British fighters always made inter- 
ception, guided by radar and aided by the high- 
ly effective use to which it was put by Royal 
Air Force fighter controllers. 

By exploiting local concentrations against 
units disclosed by radar British fighters 
achieved decisive victories. And the British 
pilot shot down over his own territory usually 
would be up in another aircraft soon afterwards. 
The Battle of Britain shook the enemy. 

But he still could maintain pilot morale. 
The German pilots felt that, should the air 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE IOH) 



102 



No. of 

Aircroft 

2000 



DISTRIBUTION of GERMAN FIGHTERS by FRONTS 
(Averages Within Indicated Periods) 



No. of 

Aircraft 
I200 



ISOO 



IOOO 



Single-Engined 
Fighters 



SCANDINAVIA> 



500 









pa 














MEDITERRANEAN 




pj 


f22M 




EASTERN 














FRONT 








pj 












WESTERN 








^%J 


FRONT 






PH 










j 





















Twin-Engined 
Fighters 



IOOO 



BOO 



17/8/42 m/12/42 



24/7/43 



19/2/44 2 0/6/44 




8/5/45 17^/42 1/12/42 



24/7/4; 



19/2/44 20/6/44 



Chart A . Distribution of the German Air Force by Fronts - 
Single -Engine Fighters . 

Average numbers and percentages during each of the five phases in 
the air war (see Chapter V, Section 4 ) are shown above. 

The importance placed on the air war in the West by the German High 
Command is noteworthy. Both numbers of aircraft, and percentage of the 
total available single-engine fighter force, on the Western- Front in- 
creased steadily to oppose the Eighth Air Force, and later, the Invasion. 



Chart B. 



Distribution of the German Air Force by Fronts - 
Twin-Engine Fighters . 



The bulk of the enemy force of twin-engine fighters on the Western 
Front opposed the Royal Air Force. But as Eighth Air Force attacks 
became more serious in the Spring of 1943, the enemy used some twin- 
engine night fighters to oppose day as well as night attacks, and later 
set aside a number of twin-engine units to specialize in day fighting. 
In the third quarter of 1943, roughly 30 percent of the enemy's twin- 
engine force was assigned to day fighting. 

Twin-engine day fighters with rocket-firing mortars constituted a 
force with high capabilities against our bombers, but the advent of long- 
range escort fighters ended this dangerous threat. 



103 



3. CAPABILITIES OF THE AIR FORCES 



battle be fought over German territory, they 
would be invincible. When Eighth Air" Force 
missions began German pilots, though shaken by 
the Battle of Britain, were supremely confident. 

Many other factors acted to keep German 
pilot morale high. Unfavorable or unpleasant 
facts were kept from the pilots. Units moved 
from Front to Front often did not realize the 
true situation in the air war. Some undoubtedly 
became more vicious and fanatical because their 
homes were being destroyed by bombing. Food 
and off duty entertainment was good. 

Probably the factor which surpassed all 
others in maintaining morale was the promise of 
super-weapons to cone. The Allied fighters were 
securing current successes but German pilots 
were advised to wait until the new German jet 
and rocket propelled aircraft appeared. This 
faith in wespons of the future provides the most 
likely answer to the question of how could a 
force so badly out-classed and out-fought as the 
Luftwaffe possibly maintain the high morale 
which existed nearly to the end of the war. The 
pilot and even the high commanders had a mystic 
faith in the Fuehrer's ability to produce super 
weapons. 

By the time that hope had collapsed, the 
end already was near. 

It is worth noting that there were several 
negative influences on the morale of German 
pilots which had some effect, particularly near 
the end of the war. One by one, the highly 
publicized aces were killed. The successes of 
Allied air operations were observed directly by 
German Air Force pilots. Also, heavy losses in 
the individual unit could not be hidden. 

There could be no "tour of duty" for the 
German pilot. Every pilot had to fight as long 
as he was alive and capable. Thus the shock of 
defeat was carried on. The depressing effect 
of heavy losses became cumulative. There was 
no relief to the pilots of the Luftwaffe except 
death or disability. 

(g) Factors in Enemy Fighter Dispositions 

The enemy day-fighter disposition in the 
west in August I9U2 consisted of a modest size 
force spread along the Western coast of Europe 
from Norway to Brittany. There were several 



reasons for its presence. One was to dis- 
courage daylight raids into Eurone. Another 
was to protect coastal shipping from air 
attack. Patrols were necessary to watch for 
raids on the coast such as the Dieppe attack. 
And pilots must be familiar with the terrain 
in case invasion ever was attempted. 

Strength at individual bases ranged from 
half a dozen fighters up to twenty. The origin- 
al plan had been to have 3 Gruppen clustered 
on 3 adjoining airfields to form Geschwaders ' 
of about 100 fighters at intervals in the de- 
fense zone. But in allotting strength to the 
Western coast the German High Coranand had to 
consider the absence of ground operations, in 
the light of needs for air support in Africa 
and on the Eastern Front. 

When Fortresses and Liberators, began to 
make daylight attacks the shallowness of 
penetration and the umbrella of short range 
escort initially demanded little increased 
defense by the Germans. A small fighter force 
could harass the bombers, and Spitfire cover 
could be avoided. The African campaign was 
claiming all spare enemy fighters. 

In the spring of I9I+3, the enemy sensed 
the trend towards deeper penetrations by the 
Eighth Air Force into his territory. He de- 
veloped a system of airfields which increased 
his capability of making second, or third, or 
even fourth sorties. Airfields were prepared 
and equipped with servicing facilities so that 
a German fighter pilot could break off combat 
anywhere with the certainty that he could find 
a landing. This defense-in-depth arrangement 
of airfields greatly increased operational 
capabilities. 

As penetrations ~oy the Eigntn increased 
in depth, the enemy saw an opportunity to 
attack in force. Range of our escort was in- 
sufficient to allow it to accompany the bombers 
to targets of importance inside Germany. So 
the enemy built up his fighter disposition, 
and soon he developed tactics and armament 
which he believed would be an answer to any 
deep, unescorted bomber attacks. Auxiliary 
tanks observed on Eighth Air Force fighters 
were adopted by the enemy to give his fighters 
the range necessary to concentrate a large 
force from airfields widely dispersed. 



In genera}., when attacks began against 
targets in an area or in a special category, 
enemy fighters were disposed so as to protect 
both the targets attacked and those against 
which attacks could be anticipated. The enemy 
built up his major defense between England, and 
Germany's industrial areas and refused to de- 
fend much of France where no targets of vital 
importance existed. 

By the summer of 19M, a shortage of 
technical ground personnel became apparent. 
A fourth staff el of 10 aircraft was' added to 
each fighter Gruppe. 

Toward the end of I9H4, staff eln were in- 
creased in unit strength from 10 to -l6 aircraft. 
Again this eased the shortage of ground per- 
sonnel. Henceforth little change was made in 
unit organization until the end of the war. 

One event badly upset the enemy' s dis- 
position pattern to oppose daylight bombing 
attack: the invasion of Normandy. When this 
took place the enemy attempted to concentrate 
most of his single-engine day-fighters in 
central France to aid his ground forces. The 
results obtained were meager, and losses were 
great. This tactical use of fighters effect- 
ively removed the Luftwaffe from effective 
intervention against bombers. 

Finally, in an effort to counter Eighth 
Air Force attacks on oil, the enemy's fighter 
force was split with about half assigned'to 
tactical employment, and the rest disposed 
deeply in Germany to oppose our bombers. 

For the rest of the war, the Luftwaffe 
was torn between conflicting demands. Full 
strength was required in support of the German 
armies in the west. It was needed eoually to 
support the Eastern Front. Anything less than 
the full force was inadeouate to defend vital 
oil targets. To complicate his dilemma, the 
Royal Air Force turned to daylight bombing. 

The final stages of the war as pointed out 
previously found the German High Command rush- 
ing units to the Western Front, to the Eastern 
Front, to deep defense, and back to the Western 
Front. If anything further had been needed to 
wreck effectiveness of the Luftwaffe, this 
rapid change of assignment did it. 



104 




Chart A . Major Industrial Areas 

Eighth Air Force bomber penetrations during the first phase of 
operations reached only a limited number of targets in important in- 
dustrial areas of occupied countries and these were attacked only under 
conditions which did not endanger the population too greatly. In the 
second phase the great Huhr District with its tremendous flak defenses 
and minor areas in Northwest Germany were reached. In the third phase 
attacks were begun on targets in areas critically important to German 
industry. The fourth phase found Eighth Air Force heavy bombers at 
last penetrating to the heart of German industry and economy. The 
fifth phase showed the Eighth Air Force's capability unrestricted: 
at last, bombs could be dropped anywhere in Germany. 



Chart B . A Few Major Targets . 

All major targets plotted on this map, were targets of the Eighth 
Air Force with the exception of the area around Vienna. 

This shows clearly that the industrial heart of Germany is centered 
around Leipzig, the focus cf our attacks in the fourth phase, which 
began in February 1944. 



105 



4. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS-PHASE I. 
17 AUGUST 1942 THROUGH II DECEMBER 1942 



General Description ; Bonib ing attacks by- 
small formations of Eighth Air Force B-17s to 
the coastal area of the Continent typified this 
period. Top cover was supplied by very large 
numbers of Royal Air Force Spitfires, but on 
some shallow penetrations beyond the coast into 
occupied France and the Low Countries, the bomb- 
ers ventured beyond range of this escort. Sur- 
prise was gained in certain cases through the 
use of radio counter-measures, fighter sweeps, 
and medium bomber attacks to "fix" or pin down 
the enemy defenses. 

Enemy disposition extended along the coast 
line from Brest to Heligoland Bight with the 
bulk of the defenses in the Pas de Calais area 
and in front of Paris. 

Enemy interceptions largely were local in 
nature. No reinforcement of the area under 
attack was attempted by the Luftwaffe until the 



last mission of the period. 

The enemy seemed uncertain as to the best 
tactics to use against the Eighth's formations, 
but he was moderately aggressive. 

Type of Heavy Bomber Attack ; Penetrations 
in this first phase generally did not exceed 50 
miles into enemy territory. 84 percent of the 
attacks might be termed shallow with only 16 
percent penetrating in depth into enemy defenses 
Virtually all of the attacks went directly to 
the target, and withdrawals in general were 
reciprocal. Approximately two-thirds of the 
attacks were made by a single bomber force 
attacking one target. About one-third of the 
attacks hit two targets . Bomber los-ses in this 
phase were small. 

Our attacking force averaged about 50 bomb- 
ers flown in various formations shown in Chapter 



I, under the appropriate dates. Escort was 
provided by between 400 and 500 Royal Air Force 
Spitfires, which gave high top cover to a point 
either just beyond the enemy coast, or short of 
it. Range of the Spitfires depended upon the 
length of the sea route and the accuracy of 
timing for the rendezvous with the bombers. 

There were two areas of enemy attack: one 
between the Seine River and Amsterdam extending 
into the heart of enemy defenses, and the other 
from Brest to La Pal lice. 

The bombers employed certain measures to 
aid them in surprise and evasion. The two most 
important were "Moonshine", and nedium bomber 
attacks accompanied by fighter sweeps. "Moon- 
shine" was a radio countermeasure used by a 
small force of Royal Air Force Defiants to make 
the force appear to German controllers as a 
large heavy bomber formation. The Defiants 
(COHTDJUBD OH PAGE 108) 



106 





FIRST PHASE - 17 Aug. 1942 -II Dec. 1942 



Chart A. Enemy Single- Engine Fighter Disposition 

Beginning the First Phase of the Air Uar 

The large circles shown above represent a 100 mile radius around 
a center of disposition. This radius was the approximate maximum dis- 
tance for interception during the First Phase of the Air War. 

The maximum concentration of strength in disposition then was in 
the Pas de Calais area of France. A second focus of defensive dis- 
position was in Normandy. Both defended among other things, the routes 
to Paris. The rest of the coast of France, the Low Countries, and 
Northwest Germany had sparse defenses. 

For the enemy disposition at the end of this period, resulting 
from attacks, turn to Chart A, page 111. 



Chart 33 . First Phase 

The range capability which bombers of the Eighth Air Force demons- 
trated to the enemy during this phase of the Air War, is shown as a 
black line roughly paralleling the coast of France. The major targets 
attacked are shown as red dots. Thus, the areas of our attacks were 
generally, the Pas de Calais; the Atlantic Coast of France from Brest 
southward; and the vicinity of Botterdam, Holland. 

The depth of penetration was limited, not by range of the bombers, 
but by the limited endurance of escort fighters. This was a period of 
trying out equipment, developing techniques, and gaining battle 
experience. 



107 



4. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE I. 
17 AUGUST 1942 THROUGH II DECEMBER 1942 



flew out over the North Sea or the Channel but 
returned to England without reaching the enemy- 
coast to prevent the enemy from realizing 
exactly what it was he mistook for heavy bombers. 

Medium bomber raids were timed to engage 
enemy fighters sufficiently in a specific area 
to "fix" them and thereby prevent or delay 
attacks by these fighters on heavy bombers. 
Fighter sweeps either with or without medium 
bomber attacks, were successful at first in 
attracting the attention of a considerable 
number of enemv fighters. 

Three other measures of evasion were used 
to a less extent. Feints by the heavy bombers 
were flown on 27 percent of the missions; "fix- 
ing" attacks by heavy bombers 18 percent j and 
routes indicating alternative objectives for 
the actual target were flown 5 percent of the 
time. 



Type of Enemy Reaction! Because of "Moon- 
shine" and other "fixing" operations during this 
early period, the enemy's interception was 
almost entirely local. That is, aircraft at- 
tacking the bomber force, were based within 
approximately 70 miles of penetration and with- 
drawal routes. Individual enemy units would 
continue the attack for 80 to 110 miles along 
the route . 

Enemy attacks were made on the average 
along approximately two-thirds of the total 
penetration and withdrawal across enemy terri- 
tory. 

As there was no fighter reinforcement by 
the enemy of the area under attack, no second- 
ary defenses were involved. This was the case 
both because of shallow bomoer penetration, and 
because of the lack of deeper enemy disposition. 

The enemy reacted strongly to evasion 



methods, particularly during the early part of 
the period. Reaction to "Moonshine", fighter 
sweeps, and medium bomber attacks was strong. 
"Moonshine" worked well until November 1942. 
Thereafter it decreased somewhat in spite of 
the fact that the enemy never did understand 
what caused the effects of "Moonshine". Toward 
the latter part of the period the enemy attempt- 
ed to concentrate on the heavy bombers which he 
now was beginning to identify. 

Feints throughout this period by the heavy 
bombers continued to draw strong reaction. Due 
to weakness of the enemy's warning services, he 
resorted to air alerts. The reason for this was 
that only shallow penetrations were being made 
and German warning services were unable to 
estimate types or numbers of aircraft with any 
accuracy. 

A strong reaction usually resulted whenever 
heavy bomber "fixing" attacks were employed. 
Small forces of heavy bombers under escort 
pinned down disproportionately large numbers of 
enemy interceptors. 



108 




Chart A . Mission to Lille - 9 October, 19^2 

Penetration . The main attack of 102 Eighth Air Force bombers with 
10 squadrons of Spitfire escort was made with a straight route from 
Orfordness to the target, preceded "by a fighter sweep "by Sk Spitfires 
over the Pas de Calais. A fixing attack was carried out by 7 B-17s with 
Spitfire escort toward Abbeville, and a Spitfire sweep toward the Dutch 
Islands was intended to divert other enemy fighters. 

The 9U Spitfires were first over the enemy coast. Twenty plus 
enemy fighters came up, hut no encounters ensued. As our main force of 
"bombers crossed over St. Omer on the way to the target, attacks by 80 
plus enemy single- engine fighters began. 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal . The enemy fighter attack on the main bomber force grew 
in intensity toward the target. 66 B_l7s bombed the Lille marshalling 
yards and steel plants under visual bombing conditions, and with .fair to 
poor results. Four bombers were lost, Mo damaged, and one escort fighter 
was shot down. 

Our fixing attack at Abbeville, by 7 B-17s and escort was pursued 
by 30 plus enemy fighters, but no contact was made. The fighter feint 
toward the Butch Islands brought up 10 plus enemy fighters without 
contact. 

Bomber claims of enemy aircraft destroyed, probably destroyed and 
damaged were 25-32-1+U, while our fighters claimed 5->-l. 



109 



5. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 2. 

12 DECEMBER 1942 THROUGH 24 JULY 1943 



General Description : This period opened 
with the first Eighth Air Force attack on the 
Romilly airfield and storage depot on 12 Decem- 
ber 19U2 and ended when an attack on Rostock, 
on 25 July 1?A3» "began a new phase. It repres- 
ented an extension of the Eighth Air Force's 
demonstrated depth of penetration to approximate- 
ly 160 miles of enemy territory as compared to 
approximately 50 miles in the first period. 
This addition was the result of the increased 
size of the bomber force and of the formations 
flown which gave some improvement in defensive 
fire. There was no increase in escort range, 
armament or any other defensive factor. Enemy 
disposition had changed little by the beginning 
of the period but by the period's end in July 
19*+3> there had been a considerable build-up 
chiefly in Holland and Northwest Germany of 



enemy defensive fighters. Some secondary de- 
fense was added in the vicinity of Stuttgart. 

Bomber Formations : The bomber formations 
flown during this phase continued the trend 
towards compressing many bombers into smaller 
and smaller air-space. When the phase began 
on 12 December 1942, the Eighth Air Force was 
flying a javelin of four groups of IS aircraft 
each, (see pages 12, 13 and 1*+). The groups 
had a tendency to string out because of the 
increasing altitude of each successive group. 
When a fifth group finally was added, this 
tendency was seriously amplified. A new forma- 
tion was needed. 

By February 19^3, the iead group has been 
placed at' mid-altitude, echelonning up to one 
side and down to the other (see pages 15, l6 



and 17). This reduced the speed differential 
between the lead group and the one at the end. 
This group wedge was flown only a few times 
before it was discovered that, under fighter 
attack, the other groups tended to close in on 
the lead as much as possible. Five groups, 
tightly closed, made an unwieldy mass of air- 
craft. So it was decided to capitalize on this 
defensive maneuver and fly only three groups 
close together for defensive fire protection. 
This was called a Combat Wing. 

The 5^ aircraft Combat Wing, (see pages 
IS, 19 and 20), as first flown in March - April 
19^3, was too wide. By the end of April, a 
similar formation had been devised, (see pages 
21, 22, 23 and 2k), with each Squadron compress- 
ed by overlapping the element; the Croup com- 
( CONTINUED ON PAGE 112) 



no 




SECOND PHASE 



12 Dec. 1942 24 July 1943 



Chart A . Enemy Single-Engine Fighter Disposition 

Beginning the Second Phase of the Air War 

Little change is to he noted in enemy fighter disposition from 
August 19^2 except for the fact that the total was reduced from 270 to 
215. The only local increase of note was the addition of 20 on Brest 
Peninsula. 

The African Campaign was now in full swing. It is probable that 
additions to enemy disposition on the Western Front were delayed for 
this reason. 



Chart B . Second Phase 

Major target areas of the Eighth Air Force were now Northwest 
Germany around Bremen and Kiel; the Atlantic Coast of France from Brest 
southward; and the Seine River area up to Paris. 

Approximately half of the penetrations still were into the first 
area of demonstrated penetration. The chief new areas under attack 
were: the submarine facilities on the Northwest German Coast; the 
vicinity- of Antwerp; and Paris. 



Disposition for the end of this second phase is shown in Chart A 
page 119. ' 



III 



5. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 2. 

12 DECEMBER 1942 THROUGH 24 JULY 1943 



pressed by overlapping the Squadrons; and the 
Combat Wing was compressed "by overlapping the 
Groups. The width of the Combat Wing thus was 
cut to about half its original dimensions. 

Escort Tactics: By May I9U3, United 
States P-47S "began to join the Hoyal Air Force 
in providing escort. These fighters began by 
flying a tight top cover - the Hoyal Air Force 
"umbrella". But before long, however, P-Vf 
pilots began to drop down and engage the enemy 
fighters. Their range of escort was similar to 
the Spitfire - about 170 miles from bases or 
only a shert way into enemy territory. This 
was the period of trying out the equipment and 
gaining, experience. 

In June 19^+3 tne F-*+7s began a -process 



which was to continue throughout the Air War. 
They began to open out somewhat - up to 100 
yards or so between each fighter aircraft to 
add to flexibility and thereby increase the 
number of guns which could be brought to bear 
on the enemy. 

Throughout the war, as Eighth Air Force 
bomber formations became more compact, the 
escort flew more and more widely until it be- 
came a huge net to envelop the enemy. 

During this period enemy targets mainly in 
three areas were attacked. One area was the 
heart of the enemy 1 s defenses in France, the 
second the area of German U-boat bases along 
the Atlantic coast and the third the area of 
U-boat facilities in Northwest Germany around 
Heligoland Bight. 



By this time the enemy had become much more 
aggressive. He was reinforcing the areasunder 
attack, and his fighters were following Eighth 
Air Force bombers far out to sea on withdrawal. 
Penetration depth of the Eighth Air Force was 
insufficient to permit the enemy to inflict 
serious losses when the bombers were without 
escort. 

Type of Heavy Bomber Attack: The depth of 
penetration into the enemy fighter defenses 
still was shallow on k2 percent of the missions 
in this period, and of medium depth 5S percent 
of the time. 59 percent of the penetrations 
went directly to the target and 77 percent of 
withdrawals were reciprocal or direct. By now 
the Eighth Air Force was attacking more than one 
target 70 percent of the time and by indirect 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE IlU) 



112 




Chart A . Mission of 13 June 19^3 to Kiel and Bremen 

Penetration . On 1 3 June 19*+3, two forces of bombers were dis- 
patched over the North Sea to attack targets in Northwest Germany. 
76 bombers of the 4th Bomb Wing were dispatched to attack the U-hoat 
construction yards at Kiel. 152 bombers of the 1st Bomb Wing were dis- 
patched to attack similar targets at Bremen. Cloud and visibility 
conditions were excellent at both targets. No escort could be provided 
as yet for such a distance. 

It was anticipated that enemy interception capabilities at Bremen 
could be very severe. In an effort to assist the bombers going to 
Bremen, the escort flew a half hour to the rear of the Kiel force. 

As the Kiel formation passed over the Danish coast, it was attacked 
by an interception force of 110 or more single-engine enemy fighters. 
Attacks were made in formations of from 2 to 6 in line. The enemy 
concentrated on the leading groups of bombers. Kis fighters came in 
from all angles and took advantage of the sun and clouds to obtain 
surprise. Attacks chiefly were aimed at the nose of the bombers. 

Some twin-engine enemy fighters remained out of range firing 
cannon shells into our formations. There were at least two air-to-air 
bombings by enemy fighters, one of which destroyed a bomber. 

The Bremen force was shielded on the way to the target by its 
position behind the Kiel raiders. No enemy attacks occurred before the 
bombers reached their target. 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal . Severe attacks on the Kiel force continued until it 
withdrew over the Danish coast. 

The bombers attacking Bremen meanwhile v/ere under light attack by 
a mixed force of single- and twin-engine fighters which followed the 
bombers for some distance out to sea. The Bremen raiders withdrew well 
to the North. 

The force which bombed Kiel withdrew to the South and East of the 
Bremen force. Single-engine enemy fighters based in Holland now flew 
far out over the North Sea to attack the Kiel force. Combats continued 
virtually to the English coast. 

The Kiel raiders lost 22 out of 76 bombers or 3!+ percent. This was 
far the greatest percentage loss to date. The Bremen force lost k, for 
a total loss of 26. Enemy fighters accounted for 21 bombers, flak for 
2, and 3 bombers were lost to other causes. 

Claims of enemy fighters destroyed, probably destroyed, and damaged 
were 39-5-14 by the Kiel force, and 2-2-1 by the Bremen force. 

Bombing at Kiel was hampered seriously cy the severity of the 
enemy attack. At Bremen, an effective smoke screen lowered effective- 
ness of the bombing. 



113 



5. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 2. 
12 DECEMBER 1942 THROUGH 24 JULY 1943 



route penetrations was attempting to confuse the 
enemy as to the objective Ul percent of the time. 

Tactics of surprise and evasion were used. 
On 32 percent of the missions routes were chosen 
with the primary objective of confusing the 
enemy concerning which important target was to 
be attacked, On 30 percent of the missions 
the heavy bombers made feints intended to use 
up flying time of the enemy fighters or dis- 
tract them from the real targets. 

Fourteen percent of our missions in the 
period resorted to medium bomber attacks and 
fighter 8weep6 . "Fixing" attacks alBo were 
employed on lh percent of the missions. 

Enemy Disposition and Type of Reaction : 
Enemy fighter disposition at the start of the 



period was much as it had been in August 19U2. 
It still consisted of a shallow coastal de- 
fense from Brest to Heligoland Bight, weighted 
heavily in the Pas de Calais area. German Air 
Order of Battle in the coastal area dropped 
from 270 single-engine fighters in August 19^2 
to 215 in January 19U3. 

During the second phase, Eighth Air Force 
attacks resulted in an increase to 515 enemy- 
fighters in the coastal area, with a secondary 
defense of 60 single-engine enemy fighters in 
the Munich-Stuttgart area. Enemy disposition 
was spread fairly evenly along the coast, with 
some weakening in the southwest toward the 
Brest Peninsula. 

Reaction differed in the three large 
areas of attack. For instance, in Northwest 



Germany, bomber penetration of enemy territory 
was not great , although the bombers flew a 
long route over the North Sea. In that area 
enemy fighters sometimes came distances of 110 
to I30 raileB to the attack. 

To defend targets in the Brest Peninsula 
and along the Atlantic Coast of France, German 
fighter aircraft would fly 90 to 110 miles to 
attack during the Eighth Air Force's first 100 
miles of penetration and from as far as 190 
miles to attack during the second 100 miles . 

Penetrations towards the center of the 
enemy defenses would attract enemy fighters as 
far away as 120 miles from the bomber route on 
occasions when the Eighth Air Force penetrated 

(CONTINUED ON PAGE ll6) 




Chart A . Mission of 22 June, 1943 - Huls . 

Penetration . On 22 June, 194.3, 257 B-17s of the 1st and 4th Bomb 
Wings, were dispatched to attack the synthetic rubber factory at Huls. 
Fighter support could be provided for withdrawal only, and therefore 
various other measures were taken to divert enemy fighters. A fixing 
attack was planned against the Ford Motor plant at Antwerp by 42 bombers 
of the 1st Bomb Wing, with 8 squadrons of P-47s for escort. Twelve 
Mitchells with Spitfire escort were to bomb Rotterdam, and a diversion 
was to be flown by one group of B-17s over the Worth Sea. 

Enemy fighters expected to oppose these attacks consisted of 110 
single-engine fighters based in Holland and 150 single-engine fighters in 
the Pas de Calais area. Some twin-engine fighters could be expected. 

As the main force flew southeastward over the Dutch Islands toward 
Huls, the Mitchells struck at Rotterdam and the B-17s at Antwerp. Some 
20 interceptors were vectored toward the Mitchells but no contact was 
made. The same fighters then attempted interception of the Antwerp 
bombers, but were forced to land through shortage of fuel. 

Some 70 single-engine and 8 twin-engine fighters attacked the Ant- 
werp force which did not effect rendezvous with the P-47s until Antwerp 
had been passed. 

Meanwhile, the main bomber force was attacked upon crossing the 
enemy coast. 60 or more single-engine fighters engaged part way to the 
target. An additional 30 attacked the leading bombers just before they 
reached Huls 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal . After bombing, the main force experienced attacks all 
the way to the coast on withdrawal. Fighters from the Pas de Calais, 
some on second sortie, attacked the 1st Bomb Wing which was about 2 miles 
ahead of the 4th Bomb Wing. As the coast was neared, 23 squadrons of 
Spitfires and 3 squadrons of Typhoons joined the bombers as escort. 
Attacks decreased sharply thereafter and ended at the coast. 

Bombing results by 170 bombers attacking at Huls were good, 39 
attacking at Antwerp gave fair bombing results. The bombers claimed 
enemy fighters as destroyed, probably destroyed, or damaged to the extent . 
of 47-23-44. Escorting fighters claijned 2 probable and 1 damaged. 

Our bomber losses totalled 20, 14 to enemy fighters, 5 to flak, and 
1 to cause unknown. One escort fighter was lost. 



115 



5. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 2. 
12 DECEMBER 1942 THROUGH 24 JULY 1943 



more than 100 miles. 

Center attacks and penetrations around 
Brest Peninsula would attract enemy fighters 
from distances of l6o to 170 miles during with- 
drawal. 

But in all areas, the enemy attack was 
"piecemeal". Each enemy unit attacked when 
and where it could. On withdrawal the bombers 
sometimes were under attack all the way across 
the North Sea to the coast of England. 

Individual attacks by enemy units in all 
three areas usually would persist for distances 
of 170 to 190 miles along a route. The entire 
route in enemy territory was under attack by 
one or more enemy units during penetrations 
into northwest Germany or the center of the 



French defenses. The enemy's interception 
during this period was very aggressive; he 
attacked fighters as well as bombers. 

The enemy still lacked secondary dis- 
position until the end of this phase. He got 
somewhat the same result by providing temporary 
reinforcement for the local fighters in an aree 
of attack. Reinforcement units would land and" 
refuel after coming into the Brest Peninsula 
from distances as great as 250 miles; into 
Northwest Germany from 210 miles away; and 
into the center of the enemy disposition 
around Paris and the Pas de Calais- from a dis- 
tance of 170 miles. 

Enemy reaction to measures of evasion 
also varied. In the central area there was 
strong reaction to most "fixing" attacks, 



fighter sweeps and medium bomber attacks. 
Feints began to lose the ability to draw enemy 
fighters, as bomber penetrations deepened and 
the enemy began to realize the futility of air 
alerts. However, he still reacted strongly to 
about half of the feints. 

In the Brest Peninsula area he continued 
to react to two-thirds of the "fixing" attacks, 
but reacted only to one-third of the feints, 
medium bomber attacks or fighter sweeps. 

In Northwest Germany, because Eighth Air 
Force targets were at distances then too great 
for fighter escort to reach, measures of 
evasion were difficult. Feints by unescorted 
bombers began to receive too vigorous attacks 
and had to be discontinued. 



116 





Chart A . Mission of gg June, 1943 to St. Nazaire 

Penetration. The main attacks were against the St. Uazaire locks. 
104 -bombers of the 1st Boiab Wing (120 dispatched) had a route to the 
target across Brittany, ,and 54 bombers of the 4th Bomb Wing (71 dispatch- 
ed) flew far out into the Atlantic around Brest Peninsula to attack from 
the direction of the sea. These 4th Wing bombers were using the long- 
range wing tanks (Tokyo tanks) for the first time. Both forces made 
feints toward Lorient to confuse the enemy regarding the target to be 
attacked. The 1st Wing was escorted about 40 miles beyond the coast of 
Brittany by S3 Squadrons of P-47s. 

Meanwhile 50 B-17s of the 1st Wing made a feint toward Amiens, 
south of the Pas de Calais, with the intention of arousing enemy fighters 
in the Beaumont area and preventing them from flying southwestward to 
reinforce fighters defending againBt our main attacks at St. Nazaire. 
After the feint, these 50 B-17s circled back to the English coast and 
then bore directly down toward the airfield at Beaumont-le-Eoger. Enemy 
fighters in the Pas de Calais area were air-alerted by the feint but, 
in general, turned back to their bases as the bombers turned away from 
the french coast back toward England. About 20 enemy fighters left 
Beaumont-le-Eoger flying toward St. Nazaire. 

The 1st Bomb Wing was not attacked while crossing Brittany under 
escort, but as the escort turned back, the bombers were engaged by some 
50 enemy fighters from Brest Peninsula which were later reinforced by 
the 20 from Beaumont. 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal. The 1st Bomb Wing was under attack continuously as it 
bombed the target and headed out to sea. Enemy fighters dropped four 
aerial bombs in salvo at the formation and made attacks upon the nose 
and tail of the formation in groups of two or three up to eight fighters. 

The 4th Bomb Wing, coming in from the sea to attack and withdrawing 
out to sea, was virtually unnoticed by the enemy. 

As the two Wings withdrew, the 1st Bomb Wing flying the course 
nearest the Continent was attacked by about 30 enemy fighters far out 
to sea. These attacks continued half way to Lands End. The enemy 
fighters probably were on second sortie. 

The attack on Beaumont successfully prevented most of the enemy 
fighters in that area from reinforcing the defenders at St. Nazaire 
The enemy in the Pas de Calais area and around Beaumont had been "put 
off balance" to the extent that only 40 of his fighters made intercep- 
tion. Most of these were handled by the escort. 

Bombing results at both targets were good. The enemy's defensive 
measures, apparently confused by our feints and thrusts destroyed only 
S bombers of the 1st Bomb Wing. Our claims of enemy aircraft destroyed, 
probably destroyed and damaged were 2S-6-8. 



117 



6. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 3. 
25 JULY 1943 THROUGH 19 FEBRUARY 1944 



General Descriptions On 25 July 1943, an 
attack was made by Eighth Air Force heavy bomb- 
ers on a target at Rostock in North Germany, 
thus initiating a new phase in the depth of 
penetrations to which the Eighth was prepared 
to extend operations. This phase ended when the 
attacks of 20 February 1944 , on targets near 
Leipzig, began the fourth phase. 

The limits of the penetrations for this 
third phase were demonstrated on the 17 August 
1943, when one force, equipped with Tokyo tanks, 
thrust deep into Germany to attack the Messer- 
schmidt Aircraft Plant at Regensburg, and with- 
drew southward over the Alps to North Africa. A 
few hours later a second force of B-17s with 
standard tanks, flew to Schweinfurt to attack 
the ball bearing plant there and then withdrew 
westward to England. The first force demon- 
strated a capability of attacking anything in 



Southwest Germany, all of France, and most of 
Italy, by withdrawing to North Africa. 

Bomber Formations: The bomber formation 
flown for most of this period was the more com- 
pact 54 aircraft Combat Wing. A Task Force 
consisted of a column of such Combat Wings in 
trail, (see pages 21, 22, 23 and 24). 

In January 1944, a new formation came into 
use (see pages 25, 26 and 27). The 54 aircraft 
Combat Wing had had too little flexibility. Its 
three groups of 18 aircraft each had been tied 
closely together, and the handling of so many 
aircraft as a unit was difficult. 

Now, the individual group was doubled in 
strength to 36 aircraft. It was still composed 
of three squadrons, lead, high and low, with the 
wing squadrons echelonned either side of the 
line of flight. But the individual squadron now 



was composed of four flat elements of three air- 
craft, the elements stacked as a lead, high, low 
and a low-low. 

Combat Wings now lost much of their 
identity as units. In such a formation there 
was a four mile interval between the lead and 
number one group, and another four mile interval 
between the number one and number two groups. 
The two groups following after the lead were 
staggered slightly to opposite sides of the line 
of flight. 

The Combat Wing following left an interval 
of four miles. The lead group of the next 
Combat Wing flew in the trail of the lead group 
of the previous Combat Wing. 

The Group formation presented a compact 
defensive fire for the defense of its 36 air- 

( CONTINUED ON PAGE 120) 



118 





THIRD PHASE 25 July, 1943 -19 Fab., 1944 



Chart A - B nemy Single- Engine Fighter Disposition 1 August iqU^ 

Beginning the Third- Phase of the Air War 

A strong increase in single-engine fighter disposition will be 
noted. The defenses from the Pas de Calais northward had been augmented, 
particularly in Holland and Northwest Germany. The first disposition 
in depth was made between Stuttgart and Munich. (This depth defense 
was unsuspected until mid-September; but its presence early in August 
is obvious from the nature of enemy reactions to missions in this area). 



Chart B . Third Phas e 

The previously demonstrated range of the Eighth Air Force was ex- 
ceeded 25 July 19IV3 in the attack on Rostock. The maximum depth of 
direct penetration and withdrawal to England for this phase was reached 
in the attack on Schweinfurt, 17 August 19^3- n the same day, another 
force, equipped with Tokyo tanks, attacked deep in Southwest Germany at 
Regensturg and withdrew to Africa. The delay in getting this force back 
to England prevented repetition of this route. This range was not ex- 
ceeded until 20 February l^kk. 

The major target areas now were (l) Northwest German ports- (2) the 
vicinity of Hamn and Munster, North of the Ruhr; (3) Hanover-Brunswick- 
(4) Frankfurt-Schweinfurt; and (5) Paris. 

Escort ranges increased slightly in the early part of this phase, 
but began a major extension in January 1 9I+I+. 



119 



6. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 3. 
25 JULY 1943 THROUGH 19 FEBRUARY 1944 



craft. Limiting this unit to 36 instead of 54 
aircraft added considerably to flexibility. 

Escort Tactics during this Period ; The 
processes of "opening out" the fighter forma- 
tion continued throughout this period. Late in 
July 1943, the first belly-tanks became avail- 
able for the P-47s, and made possible some 
tactical surprises. The enemy had been in the 
habit of forming up just beyond range of escort 
with his twin-engined fighters. On several 
occasions following the sudden addition to 
range, Eighth Air Force fighters were able to 
fly straight into an enemy formation, score 
many victories and thereby disrupt the attack 
on our bombers. 

By September 1943, the Eighth Air Force 
fighters began to get useful aid from the 
British "Y" Service. Trained radio operators 



translated intercepted messages from Geman 
controllers and passed on this informati on for 
immediate operational use. This enabled our 
fighters to attack enemy assembly areas, throw 
enemy concentrations off balance and disrupt 
the enemy's plan of bomber interception. 

When both German and Eighth Air Force 
fighters were within range of British Type 16 
control, this control directed the Eighth's 
fighters to a position of advantage. It was a 
radar device similar to Micro Early Warning but 
of shorter range, which allowed a fighter con- 
troller to observe on a screen the relative 
positions of friendly and enemy fighters. 

In January 1944, the basic conception of 
the use of fighter escort changed. The earlier 
order, "protect the bombers" was expanded by 
adding "and pursue and destroy the enemy". Now, 
some of the escort remained in constant defense 



of the bombers while others intercepted enemy 
attacks on bomber formations and then pursued 
enemy fighters wherever they fled. Fighters 
leaving escort were permitted to "sweep the 
deck". This added a powerful new force to the 
attack on German troops, transport, and 
communications. 

Toward the end of the period, the Eighth's 
fighter escort groups spread out to 25 or 30 
miles in width, so that it was difficult either 
for the enemy in the air or. his warning services 
on the ground to detect them. One squadron 
would sweep well ahead of the bombers while the 
other two squadrons of the group swept at the 
sides of the bomber formation. 

Enemy Disposit ion; From August 1943 
through February 1944', there was little change 
in the number of single-engine enemy day 
(COHTDJUED 05 PAGE 122) 



120 



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Chart A . Mission to Marienburg, 9 October 19^3 

Penetration . Six combat wings of B-17s and B-2Hs were sent far 
North over the Danish Peninsula to attack distant aircraft and naval 
targets in East Prussia and Poland at Marienburg, Danzig and Gdynia. 
Such range was possible because of the low altitude and route assembly 
which gained perhaps two hours of flying time compared to direct pene- 
trations. Two other combat wings, flying on a route somewhat to the 
South were to bomb the Focke Wulf aircraft plant at Anklam, and with- 
draw on a reciprocal route. By engaging much of the enemy the Anklam 
attackers would aid both penetration and withdrawal of the forces going 
deeper. Escort could not be provided except for part of the withdrawal 
over the North Sea. Enemy disposition included 135 single- engine day 
fighters in Northwest Germany and Denmark with an additional 135 i n 
Holland as potential reinforcement. Uo single-engine night fighters 
were within interception distance of the routes. 80 twin- engine day 
fighters were now in Northern Germany. 

As the first bombers started out over the North Sea, the enemy, 
confused by our "carpet" radar counterraeasures, sent out scouting forces 
to report on the bombers. None of these made contact. Our first force 
was engaged by local defenders over Denmark. Again near Anklam single- 
engine and twin-engine fighters attacked. Many enemy fighters, disposed 
in Northwest Germany, started Northward but failed to "follow through" 

The task forces headed for East Prussia followed the Anklam force, 
across Denmark and the Baltic to their targets without interception. 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal . The Anklam force sustained severe attack all the way 
from the target well beyond the coast of Denmark. Some 80 single-engine 
and 90 twin-engine fighters intercepted, making vigorous attacks. Air- 
to-air bombing and rocket-firing from the twin-engine fighters, combined 
with more orthodox attacks, accounted for 18 bombers lost from this 
force. The escort, planned for part of the withdrawal, failed to make 
rendezvous because the bombers were ahead of schedule. 

The main force, after bombing an aircraft plant at Marienburg 
and naval installations and warships at Gdynia and Danzig, was opposed 
by some 30 single-engine and 30 twin-engine fighters, while withdrawing 
beyond Denmark. These attacks were not vigorous since the enemy fight- 
ers were on their second or third sortie. The B-24s flown to the North 
evaded all but a short fight with about 10 single-engine enemy fighters. 

Bombing results at Anklam were very good, and excellent at Marien- 
burg. Good results were obtained at Gdynia but little was accomplished 
at Danzig, due largely to heavy smoke screens at these two ports. 

Total bomber losses were 28, enemy fighters accounting for 19$ 
flak 3, and other reasons 6. 

Claims of enemy fighteTs destroyed were 122, probably destroyed 
29, and damaged 6l. 



121 



6. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS - PHASE 3. 
25 JULY 1943 THROUGH 19 FEBRUARY 1944 



fighters disposed against the Eighth Air Force. 
The increase which did take place built up a 
single-engine night fighter force to a strength 
about 25 percent of day fighters. 

A very seri'ous enemy threat came from a 
new day fighter which grew to considerable pro- 
portions during this period - the twin-engine 
rocket-firing fighter. During this phase, such 

fighters became roughly one-third as numerous 
as single-engine day fighters. Because of its 
long range, the "twin" was a constant menace. 
It appeared from distant airfields in opposi- 
tion regardless of which route the bombers took. 

German Air Force fighter disposition 
changed during the period from essentially a 
coastal defense, to a defense behind the Rhine. 
Small forces were left for defense of probable 
invasion areas. But the bulk of the German Air 



Force was disposed just west of the great 
industrial areas in Germany with secondary 
defenses as far back as Berlin. 

This change was a result largely of the 
destructive effect which Eighth Air Force long 
range fighters began to, have on German inter- 
ceptors, particularly toward the end of the 
period. The provision of fighter defense in 
the area of the Eighth's early penetration of 
enemy territory became too costly for the Luft 
waffe, and a disposition of fighters on the 
ground exposed to our fighter escort "sweeping 
the deck" on the route home proved too vulner- 
able. 

Depth of Penetration and Areas of Attack: 
The attack at Schweinfurt involved a direct 
penetration into enemy territory of 320 miles 
and withdrawal to England. This depth of 
penetration was not to be exceeded until 



February 1944. It employed almost the full 
range capability of the B-17 with standard tankf 
for a direct penetration. Requirements for 
effecting formation and gaining initial altitude 
before reaching the coast line were the limit- 
ing factors. 

During this third phase there were three 
major areas of attack and two minor ones. The 
major areas were, Horthwest Germany, Western 
Germany and Northern France and the Low 
Countries. A few attacks were made against 
targets on the Atlantic coast around Bordeaux 
and a few more were made in Northern Germany. 

During most of this period, fighter escort 
of the Eighth Air Force was capable of pene- 
trating beyond the enemy coast to distances up 
to 160 miles. The penetration of the bombers, 
however, went beyond this. To reduce the time 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE I2U) 



122 





Chart A . Mission to Monster, 10 October 1943 . 

274 B-17s of the 1st and 3rd Divisions were dispatched on a direct 
route to bomb the railway and waterway junctions at Munster. They were 
escorted to a new depth of penetration by P-47s. The 3rd Division, in 
the lead, was out of escort for about 30 minutes, during which time con- 
centrated enemy attacks destroyed 29 bombers. The 1st Division, follow- 
ing closely, was escorted for the entire route, having one group of P-47s 
with it in the target area. The escorted force was largely avoided by 
the enemy, which destroyed only one bomber. 

Enemy fighters were disposed 135 single-engine in Holland, 100 
single-engine and 80 twin-engine in Northwest Germany. A further dis- 
position to the Southwest came Northward in redeployment and would have 
been available for interception on a deeper penetration by our bombers. 

As our bombers left England, enemy aircraft flew out to scout the 
force. Fighters from Holland continued to scout as the 3rd Division 
crossed the coast line and headed for Munster. After the escort left the 
3rd Division near the Rhine, the enemy began concentrated attacks on the 
nose of the leading groups with units of 2 and 3 attacking the low 
bombers in the formation. Fighters headed toward the battle area both 
from the South, and from the North where controllers had learned that the 
B-24s, making a feint over the North Sea, comprised only a small force. 
Cannon shells and rooket fire came from the twin-engine fighters. One 
group of 12 bombers was destroyed in this attack. 

The 1st Division proceeded to the target with few enemy attacks 
en route. 



Chart B . Mission to Munster, 10 October 1943 . 

After bombing, the 3rd Division withdrew straight toward England 
still under heavy attack. Arrival of P-47 esoort fighters soon drew 
most of the enemy's attention. 

The 1st Division reached the target with a single group of P-47s 
which had, thereby, set up a new record for depth of escort penetration. 

Enemy fighters were flying Northwestward from the Beaumont area in 
expectation of a deeper penetration on our part. The fight ended during 
withdrawal toward the Dutch coast. 

Bombing of Munster was good in spite of the violence of the enemy 
defense. 236 bombers attacked targets out of 284 dispatched. 216 escort 
fighter sorties were flown. Total claims for enemy aircraft destroyed, 
probably destroyed, and damaged were 204-22-55, out of whioh fighters 
claimed 21-1-4. and bombers claimed 183-21-51. Bombers lost werei 3rd 
Division - 29; 1st Division - 1. 1 fighter was lost. 

This mission demonstrated the great value of a fighter escort foroe. 
It now was apparent that heavy losses would be sustained when penetra- 
tions were made beyond escort range into an area where the enemy could 
concentrate his fighter defenses. 



123 



6. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 3. 
25 JULY 1943 THROUGH 19 FEBRUARY 1944 



of exposure beyond the range of escort, attacks 
usually went straight to the targets and back. 
These deep bomber penetrations beyond fighter 
escort range represented a bold attempt by the 
Eighth Air Force to establish that heavily- 
armed bombers could fly deep into enemy terri- 
tory with only the protection of their own 
defensive fire-power. The losses on some of 
these missions tended to prove the opposite, if 
the bombers were opposed by an alert and des- 
perate enemy. 

The enemy at this time was exceedingly 
aggressive and quick to grasp the plan of 
Eighth Air Force operations. He developed 
methods of concentration, new armament and im- 
proved tactics which made deep daylight bombing 
penetrations beyond escort too costly to be 
continued. 

Type of Heavy Bomber Attack t During phase 
three, 81 percent of Eighth Air Force penetra- 



tions were direct and 86 percent of withdrawals 
were direct or reciprocal. By this time the 
bomber force was large enough so that 81 percent 
of the time more than one target was attacked 
per mission. Depth of penetration was suffi- 
cient for routes to be chosen suggesting alter- 
native objectives 22 percent of the time. 

Penetrations were very deep 7 percent of 
the time, deep 18 percent, medium deep 52 per- 
cent and shallow 23 percent. 

Type of Enemy Reaction: The bulk of our 
bombing missions penetrated to the center of 
enemy defenses. On penetration, enemy fighters 
intercepted from distances as great as 160 
miles from the route on penetration and as 
great as 220 miles on withdrawal. Attacks by 
individual units of enemy fighters extended as 
far as 180 miles along the route. Bomber 
forces were under attack 60 to 100 percent of 
the whole route on these center penetrations. 



Many withdrawals, out over the North Sea or the 
Channel, were attacked. In one instance enemy 
fighters followed the bombers back over Kent. 

On these central attacks reinforcement 
areas of enemy defense extended as far as 200 
miles from a bomber route. Both single-engine 
and twin-engine fighters were disposed in 
secondary defense. The "twins" rapidly learned 
to avoid areas where bombers were under escort. 

Routes from Northwest Germany were inter 
cepted from distances as great as 130 miles, 
both on penetrations and withdrawal. As 
penetrations in this area did not go so deep 
into enemy territory, and because of the long 
North Sea route, attacks by individual enemy 
units never exceeded 110 miles of the route. 
But the entire route in this area was under 
attack while over enemy territory, and 
frequently withdrawals over the North Sea were 
under attack almost to the shores of England. 





Chart A . Mission of lk Octoher. iqU^ - Schweinfurt 

Penetration . Two formations each of approximately 150 B-17s flew 
parallel courses to the Dutch Islands where T-kf escort met them. 
47 B-2Hs were supposed to follow the leading B-17 formation, hut, unahle 
to rendezvous with their escort "because of weather conditions, the B-2Us 
flew a diversion route over the North Sea. 

The fighter escort accompanied the homhers to Aachen. Contrary to 
recent custom, enemy attacks concentrated on the escort. Upon withdrawal 
of the P-U7S the enemy launched a concentrated attack with single- engine 
and twin-engine fighters which had congregated in the area from fields 
as distant as Bremen and Laon down near Paris. Single-engine fighters 
would single out a group of homhers and make nose attacks, singly or in 
twos or threes. Twin-engine fighters flew in formations astern of a 
homher formation and fired salvos of rockets from distances of approxi- 
mately 1,000 ya**ds. 

At the point of departure of the escort, the 3rd Division turned 
South for ahout 70 miles and then East toward the target. This split 
route had the effect of concentrating most of the fight on the 1st 
Division which continued to fly directly toward the target. 

The split route and a sharp turn hy "both Divisions to a North- 
•northeast heading for the homh run somewhat confused the enemy with the 
result that attacks diminished during the run. 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal. The enemy now had airhorne some 200 single- engine 
and ahout 120 twin- engine fighters, 50 of which were rocket-firing. 
The weight of the attack "became very severe as the homhers turned nearly 
270 degrees to the right for withdrawal. Most of the 60 homhers lost 
were shot down during this turn. 

As the two Divisions "began to withdraw westward, they ran into had 
weather. The homher formations "became extended. The comhination of 
had weather and less cohesive formations turned out to he an advantage 
to the Eighth Air Force because ahout 60 twin- engine rocket-firing 
aircraft, which intended to intercept soon after the target, were not 
ahle to make contact. 

Jew homhers were lost to attacks during the withdrawal. 

The homhing at Schweinfurt had heen good in spite of vicious 
enemy interception. 60 homhers were lost, % out of the 1st Division. 
Claims of enemy aircraft destroyed, prohahly destroyed and damaged 
totalled I99-2S-9U; the homhers claiming 186-27-gQ, and the escort 
fighters 13-1-5. 

Although the enemy still was committing his fighters in small 
assault units, this mission emphasized a trend toward massive concen- 
trations. 



125 



7. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS-PHASE 4. 
20 FEBRUARY 1944 THROUGH 20 JUNE 1944 



The new phase began with a highly important 
mission by the Eighth Air Force to Leipzig, be- 
yond the old demonstrated range. The full 
limits of the new range capability were not 
demonstrated, however, until an attack was made 
on targets at Munich on 19 March ISkh. This 
indicated to the enemy a capability of pene- 
trating his territory to a distance of approxi- 
mately U50 miles made possible by the addition 
of large numbers of long-range escort fighters. 
This depth of penetration was not to be exceeded 
until 21 June 19M. 

Bomber Formations: Throughout this phase, 
the same formation was flown as at the end of 
the third phase: the ~}6 aircraft Group, and the 
Combat Wing of 3 Groups at k mile intervals in 
trail with the Wing Groups stepped one to each 
side of the line of flight (see pages 25, 26 
and 27). 

Escort Tactics: A new factor of the utmost 
importance now had entered the air war, the long 
range escort fighter began to appear in increas- 
ing numbers. Instead of evading the enemy, the 
aim now was to provoke attack and to force enemy 
fighters into combat which the Eighth Air Force 
could stand but which the Luftwaffe could not. 

The escorting fighter groups continued to 



spread out 25 to 30 miles in width and frequent- 
ly a squadron or a group was sent to sweep the 
route directly ahead of the bomber formation. 

Increasing use was made of groups on a 
"free sweep". They would fly deep into enemy 
territory toward an area of expected enemy 
assembly, there break d.own into flights and 
"throw out a net" to enmesh the enemy fighters. 
Eighth Air Force fighter pilots were becoming 
increasingly aggressive. Frequently, a flight 
of four would charge into an assembly of 50 to 
100 of the enemy, break up this formation and 
destroy a considerable number for little or no 
loss. 

Sometimes the enemy would not come up to 
fight. Then our sweeping fighters would go 
"down to the deck", strafe airfields, • flak 
towers, railroad trains and other suitable 
military targets. 

Our Tactics of Attack: At the beginning of 
this period, attacks were made simultaneously on 
many targets with decisive effect. The mission 
of 20 February lgl+U, during which enemy con- 
trollers and fighter pilots became thoroughly 
confused, brought to the enemy a realization of 
the true capabilities of a great bomber- fighter 
force. 



For the first part of the period indirect 
penetrations were used to a great extent, but 
as the Eighth Air Force's new long range fight- 
er force increased and its pilots became in- 
creasingly aggressive, routes became more and 
more direct. Over the whole period 62 percent 
of penetrations were direct and J2 percent of 
withdrawals were direct or reciprocal. Almost 
every mission involved multiple targets. 

The area of attack now had become "all of 
Germany". A few missions included formations 
destined for Poland. With such deep penetra- 
tions the opportunity of flying routes afford- 
ing alternative objectives was greatly increas- 
ed, with a result that 52 percent of missions 
were flown in this manner. 

Fighter sweeps were no longer evasive in 
purpose. On 51 percent of the missions in this 
period, fighter sweeps were made deep into 
enemy territory to search out the enemy, break 
up his assembly, and force him into combat. 

Enemy Disposition : A violent change in 
enemy disposition took place near the end of 
this period. The enemy had thrown a cordon 
across the routes to his industrial heart area. 
He, had moved 6g percent of his single-engine 
fighters to the Western Front to stop daylight 
(COHTIUUED OH PAGE I2g) 



126 




— Legend — 
S/E Day 
O S/E Night 

o T/E Da y 




FOURTH PHASE 



2Q Feb ,1944. 2Q June, 1944 



Chart A . Enemy Day-Fighter Disposition 1 March l^kk 

Beginning the Fourth Phase of the Air War 

The German High Command now withdrew the hulk of its fighter 
defenses to "become a potential harrier in front of the great industrial 
districts in Germany. A modest number of fighters remained in the more 
probable invasion areas: Brest, Brittany, Normandy, and the Pas de 
Calais. The rest, comprising single-engine day and night fighters, and 
the twin-engine rocket-firing day fighters, were placed in a defensive 
belt from Denmark, behind the Rhine down to Munich. 

Secondary defenses were placed around Hanover and Brunswick, and 
a third defense belt even was established hear Berlin. 

Such a disposition provided the enemy with a force capable of 
large-scale concentration at virtually all of his major target areas. 
It was the fore-runner of massive concentrations. 



Chart B . Fourth Phase 

TQUU W i t l!J e A f re T t att ^ ck v 0n * he ene ^ aircraft industry of 20 February 
19W, Eighth Air Force bomber-fighter teams indicated to the enemy that 
i JTnh, no " waB c ^able of an increased depth of penetration. n 12 
March W, the extent of that penetration was demonstrated by an attack 
on Munich. Now bombers could be escorted to the bulk of Germany' s vital 
target areas. 

°* r main target areas had become (l) Central Germany, from Hanover 
to Berlin and South to Leipzig; (2) the Baltic coast of Germany from 
btettin Westward; (3) the Hamm-Munster area North of the Ruhr- (k) the 
Munich area; and (5) the V-bomb sites in the Pas de Calais. ' 

This phase of the air war saw a change in Eighth Air Force tactics 
from evasion to provocation intended to force the enemy air force to 
tight to a finish. The enemy long had refused to fight Allied fighters 
but he now was forced to attempt interception of bombers even if it 
involved combats with the Eighth Air Force's fighter escort 



127 



7. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 4. 

20 FEBRUARY 1944 THROUGH 20 JUNE 1944 



heavy bombing attacks. Only 32 percent were 
disposed on the Eastern and Mediterranean 
-fronts and in Scandinavia. 

But further trouble was in store for him. 
With the invasion of Normandy he was forced to 
neglect for the moment his desperate defense 
of German industry in order to attempt to 
thwart the Allied landing. 

So the end of this phase in the air war 
found most of the German Air Force of the west, 
disposed in the general vicinity of Normandy 
beachhead. 

But a secondary defense was left to inter- 
cept deep bombing attacks. Single-engine 
night fighters used more and more in the day- 
time, eventually became a straight day-fighting 
force, and with remnants of the enemy's twin- 
engine day fighters, constituted most of this 
deep defense. 

Enemy Tactics: Enemy reaction took the 
form of increasingly large concentrations of 
enemy fighters. These assembled in formations 
to attack heavy bomber task forces only after 
they had penetrated well into enemy territory. 
The enemy now attempted to make massive attacks 
with single engine fighters. In such attacks 



succeeding waves of fighters flying line- 
abreast were exceedingly lethal to any bomber 
unit which had become too widely separated from 
its fighter escort. 

The enemy was still very aggressive. He 
attempted to assemble all aircraft possible to 
make interception, bringing fighters from dis- 
tances as great as 300 miles to reinforce the 
area under attack. But by now he had found 
that twin engine fighters could not live in the 
same sky with long range Mustangs and Light- 
nings. 

Two new tactical developments of the enemy 
are of interest. 

He made increasing use of scouting or 
"shadow" aircraft to give his controllers in- 
formation about weather and the disposition of 
our bomber and fighter forces. He also made 
use of "fugitive sorties". Pilots of his twin- 
engine aircraft no longer wished to stay, even 
on the ground, in the area over which the 
Eighth flew. The result was that in the area 
which the enemy assumed an attack was coming 
twin-engine aircraft would make off early for 
points as far north as Denmark. 

Offensive Fighter Missions: During the 



Fourth Phase of Strategic Air Operations, the 
Eighth Air Force fighters demonstrated great 
offensive c&oabilities. First the fighters 
were permitted to "sweep the deck" on returning 
homeward after being relieved of escort duty. 
Then fighter sweeps were inaugurated to the 
areas where enemy fighter assemblies might be 
expected v/hile the bombers were making their 
ea.rly •cenetrations. 

After considerable success in these efforts 
fighter pilots of the Eighth became more end 
more offensive minded. They felt that if they 
were permitted to attack the enemy unhampered 
by the necessity of escorting bombers, dividends 
in crippling the enemy would result. 

The pressure to carry out the bombing 
program within a limited period was too great 
to permit such experiments when weather was 
suitable for bombing, and at this time, virtu- 
ally all weather permitted some sort of bombing 
attack. But eventually, the fighters had two 
opportunities to go on missions alone. Both 
days had weather conditions too poor to offer 
any success for a bomber attack, but just above 
the minimum for a fighter sweep. On 5 April 
19^i weather was so bad at bases and on the 
Continent that the bomber force "stood down". 
Ten groups of fighters were assigned to strsf- 

( CONTINUED ON PAGE 130) 



128 





Chert A . Mission of 20 February, !<#<■ to Leipzig and vicinity 

Penetration. The plan of operation on this day was to threaten the 
enemy' s deep targets with a Northern bombing force, get his defenses off 
"balance, and then thrust straight into the vital area around Leipzig, 
where the enemy's disposition was designed to defend with maximum power. 
The possibility of serious loss was great unless the enemy defenses were 
disrupted. 

German controllers saw our first Task Force (31HB-I7S) swing out 
over the North Sea toward Denmark. Recognizing this as a potential 
threat to Berlin, the enemy dispatched 50 twin-engine and 30 single- 
engine fighters towards 'the Kiel Canal. Actually its targets were in 
Poland. 

SO minutes behind our first force, German controllers detected a 
second force coming straight for Holland. German observation posts soon 
afterwards warned that this force constituted a huge attack. Though by 
now the fighters sent toward Kiel had crossed the Danish border, they 
were recalled. 

The first Task Force crossed Denmark under the attack of local de- 
fenders and flew out over the Baltic to find such bad weather that its 
attack was cancelled. 

Our main attack, to Leipzig and vicinity was intercepted by some 
60 single- engine and 30 twin-engine fighters which were engaged by our 
escort. One group of P-3Ss flying eastward to rendezvous with the bomb- 
ers soundly defeated ko or more single-engine enemy fighter reinforce- 
ments. 



Chart B . 

- Withdrawal. Aircraft assembly plants at Leipzig, Brunswick, 
Oschersleben, Gotha, and Bernberg were bombed with good to excellent 
results. The Northern force, after turning back because of weather, 
followed the coastline with H2X equipment and bombed Rostock and Tutow 
through- the-overcast. Attacks were made on this force during with- 
drawal . 

The main force, after breaking down to bomb the many targets, re- 
assembled to withdraw along a route south of the Ruhr. Enemy controll- 
ers had assembled a substantial force for our expe&ted withdrawal along 
a reciprocal route, and about 30 single-engine fighters which had flown 
North and been recalled to base at Jever near the coast, were out of 
the fight. The 50 or more twin-engine fighters which had landed near 
our penetration route to refuel, now hurried southward, but were able 
to reach only the tail of the bomber column where Eighth Air Force 
fighters were ready for them. Our withdrawal continued under only 
small attacks. 

Losses amounted to only 21 bombers out of a dispatched force of 
over 1,000, and k fighters out of more than 900 dispatched. The Eighth 
Air Force claimed enemy fighters destroyed, probably destroyed, and 
damaged to the total of 126- 1 K)-66, out of which 65-33-29 were bomber 
claims, and 6I-7-37 were claimed by the fighters. 



129 



7. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS-PHASE 4 

20 FEBRUARY 1944 THROUGH 20 JUNE 1944 



ing operations at a large number of airfields 
over occupied territory and Germany. Weather 
was so "bad over France, Holland, Belgium and 
Western Germany that groups with targets in 
these areas were able to do relatively little. 
Two P-51 groups, however, had been assigned tar 
gets deep in Germany, one in the vicinity of 
Berlin and the other near Munich. They found 
visibility such that, although few assigned 
targets could he found, a large number of enemy 
aircraft could be destroyed chiefly on the 
ground. 

The group attacking in the Berlin area 
crossed 10/lOths cloud until east of Brunswick 
where some breaks were visible. The group 
dropped from 23,000 feet through the cloud 
when in the vicinity of Berlin and attacked 
five airfields through flak that ranged from 
moderate to intense for claims of 1+5 enemy 
aircraft destroyed, 3 probably destroyed, and 
39 damaged. Only 2 aircraft were claimed in 
the air, the rest being attacked on the ground. 
Three P-51s were lost to flak and one in the 



Channel the pilot of which was rescued. 

The Munich attackers found similar weather 
conditions en route and in the target area. 
One assigned airfield and five airfield targets 
of opportunity were attacked for claims of 
51-1-81, of which g-1-2 were in air fights. 
Losses of the Eighth amounted to three P-51s, 
one to enemy aircraft, one to flak, and one - 
to reasons unknown. 

Most of the enemy aircraft destroyed were 
twin-engine types. The airfields attacked 
were only moderately defended by flak at this 
time and flak fire generally was of moderate 
intensity and fairly inaccurate. 

The score for the day was gg enemy air- 
craft destroyed, k probably destroyed, and 122 
damaged, for the loss of 6 F-51s. In addition, 
there was a large number of miscellaneous tar- 
gets attacked, such as locomotives, flak towers, 
gun installations, barracks, hangars, barges 
and enemy personnel. 



Cn 21 May l^kk, weather prevented large 
scale heavy bomber operations, and again the 
fighters were assigned a strafing mission this 
time against enemy transportation. Fighters 
from the United States Eighth and Ninth Air 
Forces and the Royal Air Force were assigned 
areas for group attack in Holland, France, 
Belgium and Germany. The areas assigned to the 
Eighth Air Force extended from the western 
border of Germany eastward just past Berlin, 
and from the North Sea and the Baltic on the 
North as far south as Dresden. The Eighth Air 
Force's areas of sweep amounted to over 60,000 
square miles. 

Thirteen out of the fourteen Eighth Air 
Force fighter groups completed their assign- 
ment in spite of very bad weather. Eighth Air 
Force claims are impressive. Enemy aircraft 
were destroyed, probably destroyed arid damaged 
to the total of 122-0-78, of which 20-0-2 were 
in the air. The list of transportation and 
other targets destroyed and damaged follows: 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 131) 



130 



7. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 4. 

20 FEBRUARY 1944 THROUGH 20 JUNE 1944 



Rail Transportation Targets Destroyed Damaged 



Locomotives 
Locomotive Tender 
Goods Wagons 
Boxcars 
Tankcars 
Entire Trains 






91 
l 
6 

3 
11 


13k 

7 

3 

29 (16 


Railroad Station 
Roundhouse 
Switch Tower 
Signal House 






l 


on fire) 
1 
1 

1 
6 


Other Transportati 


on Targets 


k 

6 
l 




Motor Trucks 

Barges 

Tug 

Canal Locks 






13 
18 

1 


Miscellaneous Tare 


;ets 









Small Oil Refinery 

Oil Tank 

Staff Car 

High Tension Towers 

Power Station 

Radar Stations 

Radar Towers 

Radio Station 

Radio Tower 

Flak Towers & Installations 



1 

15 



In addition, there is a long list of dam- 
aged targets, including searchlights, gun posts, 
amnunition depots, hangars, water towers, 
factories, warehouses, "barracks, an ore smelter, 
and miscellaneous "buildings. 

Ninth Air Force and the Royal Air Force 
had additional impressive claims to those of 
the Eighth Air Force, enumerated above- 
Besides causing a serious disruption of 
enemy transportation, this fighter mission must 
'have brought the war "home" to more than half 
of the population of Germany. 



Fighter Operations in D-Day Period : During 
the period of the invasion of Normandy, Eighth 
Air Force fighters achieved such important 
results that a brief description of ' their 
special employment is given below. 

The success of the landings could be assur- 
ed if the German forces defending the beach area 
could be prevented from bringing up from other 
areas troop reinforcements, adequate supplies, 
and most important, fighter aircraft. Allied 
tactical air forces were operating in the immed- 
iate vicinity of the ground battle. The fighter 
force of the Eighth -received the task of extend- 
ing beyond the tactical zone the area of inter- 
diction of the German Air Force, ground rein- 
forcements, and supplies. 

There were many enemy fighters on airfields 
back of the ground battle area. For reasons of 
safety, these enemy fighters had been dispersed 
in woods and otherwise hidden away from the 
actual airfield area. In order to use these 
aircraft, the enemy had to bring them from dis- 
persal. Then enough enemy fighters had to be 
assembled for a formation to attack the invasion 
beach area. One of the purposes of fighter 
operations of the Eighth was to prevent this 
assembling of enemy fighters and thus deny them 
any opportunity to make serious attacks. 

Since Field Marshall Runstedt had been 
uncertain of the location of the Allied landing 
until the operation actually was launched, he 
had been forced to deploy his ground forces 
against potential landings all along the 
western coast of Europe. Other landings were 
still a constant threat. But as soon as he 
realized that the Normandy beaches represented 
a major invasion area, the Field Marshall began 
to reduce his defenses in other areas and move 
units toward Normandy. It was a duty of the 
Eighth's fighters to impede and disrupt these 
enemy reinforcements as early as possible. 

Supply lines which the enemy had prepared 
to his forward units before invasion now had to 
be greatly expanded in order to supply a full- 
scale battle. Fighters of the Eighth were 



ordered to impede and disrupt the enemy channels 
of supply, thus shortening the period of power- 
ful defense and weakening the enemy's defensive 
effort against Allied ground forces. 

With all these purposes in view, a plan 
lor fighter operations was drawn up. It in- 
volved a continuous daytime sweep of an area 
representing a wide arc centered on Normandy 
and lying between the beachhead and the enemy's 
fighter airfields. Fighter units were to be" 
flown in relays, each relay of sufficient size 
to provide an effective interdiction of the 
entire area of the arc. 

This operation continued for many days. 
Eighth Air Force fighters would sweep over 
enemy airfields, watching for activity denoting 
an attempt to prepare enemy aircraft for take- 
off. Whenever such a take-off was attempted, 
it was attacked immediately with resultant 
destruction of some of the enemy fighters and 
dispersal of the rest eastward from the battle 
area. Many enemy fighters made "fugitive 
sorties" eastward in an attempt to get away, 
and later form up farther east to attack the 
battle area. 

Fighter patrols of the Eighth were highly 
effective in disrupting enemy attempts to form 
up sizeable forces. No enemy fighter forma- 
tions of major size penetrated the Eighth's 
fighter screen, which gave an immunity from 
enemy fighter and dive-bomber attack which was 
of far-reaching importance. The German ground 
forces were under ceaseless fighter and dive- 
bomber attack while Allied troops pushed their 
operations with the assurance that "if you see 
any fighter planes, they will be ours". 

So many enemy troops were killed, so much 
motor transport destroyed, and such disruption 
of supply ensued that the enemy soon gave up 
the attempt to move any troops or supplies by 
daylight. With movements impeded by darkness 
and limited to the short period of the European 
summer night, the enemy defenses never built up 
in Normandy an adequate defensive force and 
local shortages in supplies soon became critical 



131 




12 MAY, 1944 
1130 hours to 1230 hours I ^ 




Chart A . Mission of 12 May, 1944 - Oil . 

Early Penetration . Clear weather, forecast for Central Germany en- 
abled the Eighth Air Force to initiate attacks on synthetic oil pro- 
duction. To double the effect of the attack, counter-air fighter sweeps 
were worked into the plan. 

Around 700 single-engine and twin-engine enemy fighters were based 
within interception distance of routes toward Leipzig. It was decided 
that a route to Frankfurt and thence towards Leipzig would bring up the 
bulk of the enemy's serviceable fighters to concentrate near Frankfurt. 

Our forces consisted of 15 Combat Wings (886 heavy bombers) flying 
as three Air Divisions, escorted by 17 Groups of fighters (5 Groups from 
Ninth Air Force), and supported by 4 fighter Groups on sweeps. Four 
Royal Air Force Mustang squadrons joined in making this the greatest 
number in a fighter escort force to date (total - 987 fighters). 

As the bombers crossed the Belgium coast, some 350 enemy fighters 
were flying towards the Frankfurt area for a massive concentration. Two 
P-47 groups, well in advance of the bombers, made for this area. The 
first group, as it reached the area, split into small units and spread 
widely to harass the enemy's converging units. Our second fighter group 
remained in formation so as to be ready bo make a large-scale attack on 
any enemy concentration reported. 



Continued Penetration . Our first sweeping fighter group, spread 
out into the so-called "Zemke Fan" formation, engaged many units of the 
enemy, and together with our second sweeping group, routed 175 of the 
enemy fighters. The whole process of the enemy's assembly was delayed 
and about 75 enemy fighters were effectively removed from further battle. 

The 3rd Air Division, in the lead, crossed the Rhine under escort 
by only one fighter group, the other group assigned having rendezvoused 
with other bombers. At this point, 130 single-engine enemy fighters 
attacked, overwhelming our escort and scoring heavily against the bombers. 
A second escort group arrived and joined the fight, but it was not until 
a third fighter group joined in that equilibrium was established, and the 
pressure was taken off the bombers. 



132 



12 MAY, 1944 
From 1230 hours to 1400 hours 




12 MAY, 1944 
From 1400 hours to 1530 hours 




Chart C . 

Final Penetration . Meanwhile, remnants of the earlier enemy 
assembly re-united and struck the injured 3rd Air Division another blow. 
Before this fight was ended, the 3rd Air Division had lost a total of 30 

bombers. 

Shortly afterward a further attack on the 3rd Division was attested 
by about 30 single-engine fighters. But the escort was able to handle 
the situation without further loss. These bombers then proceeded to 
bomb the great synthetic oil works at Brux and the large aircraft repair 
depot at Zwickau with good results despite the severity of enemy inter- 
ception en route. 

The 1st and 2nd Air Divisions had swept past Frankfurt toward the 
targets unopposed. The 1st bombed the huge Leuna synthetic oil plant at 
Merseburg with excellent results, and the Lutzkendorf oil plant with fair 
results. 

The 2nd Air Division bombed synthetic oil plants at Bohlen and 
Zeitz, both with excellent results. 



Chart D . 

Withdrawal . Shortly after our bombing some 40 enemy single-engine 
fighters attempted interception of the 1st and 2nd Divisions but were 
well engaged by our escort. 

30 twin-engine fighters intercepted the 3rd Division's withdrawal 
shortly after the target area was passed when the escort left because 
fuel was becoming low. The Brux raiders were now 30 minutes late. 

The enemy's final interception took place near Frankfurt on the 
3rd Division. Here some 100 single-engine and 10 twin-engine enemy 
interceptors, on second sortie, found themselves fully occupied by the 
relief escort which were now accompanying the 3rd Division. 

Further withdrawal was uneventful. 

The net result of the day was a great air victory for the Eighth 
Air Force plus destructive bombing of vital enemy oil production. All 
targets were well blanketed with high explosive and incendiary bombs. 

Losses of the Eighth Air Force were 46 bombers, 41 from the 3rd 
Division. 10 fighters were lost. Bombers claimed 115-37-43 enemy 
fighters and fighters claimed 61-1-13 for a total of 181-38-56. 



133 



8. 



STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 5. 
21 JUNE 1944 THROUGH 8 MAY 1945 



The new phase in demonstrated range capa- 
bilities "began on 21 June 1944. Task Forces of 
the Eighth Air Force split up to attack many 
targets in a wide area chiefly in the vicinity 
of Leipzig-Dresden. One force of B-17s -with 
Mustang escort, "hidden" by its route in 
relation to the other forces, bombed the syn- 
thetic oil plant at Ruhland, north of Dresden. 
Then, completely unnoticed by the enemy fighters 
heavily engaged elsewhere, the Ruhland force 
continued eastward to land at Poltava in Russia. 

This force demonstrated clearly to the 
enemy that, thereafter, there was no spot in 
"Fortress Europe" safe from bombing. No longer 



was there any belt of safety to which the enemy 
could remove his battered industries, military 
headquarters, or government offices. 

Bombers of the Eighth Air Force still were 
flying, the 36 aircraft Group (see pages 25, 26 
and 27). The bomber column, ideally, was com- 
posed of combat wings, 12 miles in trail. Each 
wing leader was followed at 4 mile intervals by 
his wing Groups, stepped off just to the side 
(to avoid prop-wash) on opposite sides of the 
line of flight. 

Eighth Air Force fighters now were ranging 
ever wider to force the enemy into combat and 



to "chase him to earth". Just prior to D-Day a 
Micro Early Warning Station started operating 
which gave "radar eyes" to our fighter con- 
trollers and pilots. In November 1944, this 
station moved to Luxembourg, thereby advancing 
its 200 mile range deeper into enemy territory. 

Fighter sweeps ranged over huge areas of 
Germany while escort fighters guarded the bomb- 
er routes. Flying widely dispersed, they were 
hard to detect though they could see enemy con- 
centrations, and a few Mustangs or Thunderbolts 
would "jump" a much larger enemy aggregation 
and effectively disrupt its assembly. 

( CONTINUED ON PAGE 137) 



134 




O S/E Day 
O S/E Night 
T/E Day 




FIFTH PHASE - 21 Jung, 1944- 8 Moy, 1945 



Chart A . Enemy Fighter Disposition 1 July, l<jkk 

Beginning the Fifth Phase of the Air War 

With the invasion of Normandy, the German Air Force was forced to 
take on an additional defensive role, despite the fact that it had shown 
itself incapable of defending German' industry against daylight bombing 
attacks of the Eighth Air Force. 

By three weeks after invasion, enemy fighter defenses had been split 
between (1) defense of the ground battle zone, and (2) defense against 
our deep bombing attacks. Since twin-engine German day fighters were no 
match fcr Thunderbolts, Mustangs and Lightnings, they were withdrawn 
toward central Germany to keep them out of the area of our greatest 
fighter activity. It probably was hoped that they could be used to 
attack unescorted bomber formations deep in Germany. 

The single-engine night fighters also were disposed back of the 
Rhine. This force rapidly was losing any function as a night fighting 
force and was soon to be classed with the rest of the day fighters. 

In the following month, the German Air Force High Command vacillated. 
If fighters were withdrawn from the Western ground battle, German ground 
forces would be immobilized by air attacks. Without the entire strength 
of the Luftwaffe to intercept bombers, there was little hope of prevent- 
ing destruction of German industry. As the Russian Army later swept 
forward, Germany was faced with a need for air strength on the Eastern 
Front. 

Unable to provide for all these vital needs, the High Command re- 
disposed the fighter force, first cne way and then another, vitiating 
much, of its defensive power. 



Chart B . Fifth Phase . 

On the 21st. of June, 1944, during a large scale attack on enemy 
synthetic oil plants near Leipzig and Dresden, one bomber force with 
Mustang escort bombed the oil plant at Ruhland and proceeded eastward 
to Russian bases near Poltava without enemy interception. This shuttle 
raid demonstrated to the German High Command that there was no part of 
the home country safe from bombing attacks. The Eighth Air Force's 
capabilities of penetration exceeded any requirement which the war in 
the West might pose. 

All German territory now received our attention. But there were 
certain areas of concentrated attack. Leipzig, Magdeburg and Dresden 
areas, in that order, received tremendous tonnages of bombs. Berlin, 
Hanover and Brunswick areas followed in importance. 

Our forces were capable of attacking more and more targets per 
mission as enemy defensive capabilities dwindled. Repeated attacks 
across great areas of Germany took in multitudes of small scale targets. 
Attacks on transportation, carried out both for the purpose of disrupt- 
ing German economy, and for cutting of supply lines to the armed forces, 
yiere too numerous to indicate on a map. 

A great air force which had gained domination of the air, now came 
into its full offensive capabilities. 



135 



+ 



r"~ 



MISSION TO LEUNA 




Chart A . Mission of 11 September, l^kk - to Leuna 

Penetration . The weather forecast for the day of this mission was 
"excellent visibility everywhere on the Continent of Europe" "out early 
fog at bases. 

1,120 heavy bombers and 71 5 fighters of the Eighth Air Force were 
dispatched against oil targets in Germany and many other targets includ- 
ing a military vehicle factory, aero engine work's, tire plants, and an 
ordnance plant. 

The bombers flew in three divisions, the First and Third Air 
Divisions preceeding the Second and flying to the Leipzig and Dresden 
areas deep in Germany , where many targets were bombed. One force from , 
the Third Division bombed the Chemnit7. military vehicles plant and pro- 
ceeded, with Mustang escort, on to Russian bases. 

The enemy put up about 380 fighters out of a serviceable strength 
of perhaps U55 which were within interception range of the routes. 

By the time our first bombers reached the Frankfurt area, the 
Magdeburg enemy assembly numbered about 170 fighters. Another 110 had 
been prevented from joining this assembly by an Eighth Air Force fighter 
sweep through the Hanover area. The assembly eventually built up to 
about 220 fighters which attempted interception of the First Air Division 
bombing the Leuna Oil Plant at Merseburg. Only 20 enemy fighters got 
through to the bombers for a short attack. A large number of enemy 
fighters was shot down in this engagement by the escort with this force. 

The second enemy concentration near Dresden numbering about 100 
engaged the lead formation of the Third Air Division which at the time 



had only one sauadron of escort fighters. These enemy fighters were 
highly skilled. They attacked in a new formation which later became 
known as the "Company Front". Waves of fighters in line abreast bored 
down on the bombers, swamping the defensive fire. In a brief attack of 
■this nature, 11 bombers were destroyed. 

The Second Air Division had received an "inside" protective route 
to bomb several targets in the Magdeburg and Hanover areas, ko enemy 
single-engine night fighters, which had taken off too late to join the 
major assemblies, found one force of Second Division B-2H out of escort 
as they were attempting to make up time by cutting across a dog-leg in 
the course. This attack, lasting perhaps 20 minutes, was made by enemy 
pilots unskilled in bomber attack, and only h bombers were lost. 

Chart B 

Withdr awal. Bombing generally was good at most of the large number 
of targets. 

After bombing, withdrawal was uneventful for all forces. The enemy 
had committed his entire available force before the targets were reached. 
With 1S1 enemy fighters destroyed, 26 probably destroyed and 75 damaged, 
(according to Eighth Air Force claims) the Luftwaffe was in no condition 
for second sortie. 

Bombers claimed 19-19-9 enemy for a loss of Uo bombers, 1Z lost to 
enemy fighters, 13 to flak and 9 to unknown causes. 

Our fighters claimed 162-7-66 enemy aircraft for a loss of 25, 
6 to enemy fighters, 2 to flak, and 17 to unknown causes. 



136 



8., STRATEGIC OPERATIONS -PHASE 5. 
21 JUNE 1944 THROUGH 8 MAY 1945 



The area of bombing now was all of 
industrial Germany and the military supply 
lines to the west. Bomber routes varied more 
than at any time previously. Two-thirds of the 
routes left the enemy in doubt as to which of 
several targets were to be attacked. Consider- 
able use was made of "hidden forces" which 
allowed relatively small units to turn off to 
attack isolated targets, or in some cases 
innumerable small targets, without fear of 
heavy loss from enemy fighters. 

A new type of fixing attack came into 
frequent use. A bomber column could fly deep' 
into enemy territory aiming directly for an 



objective vital to the enemy. With a concen- 
tration of enemy fighters piling up in defense 
of the s ensitive target the one bomber force, 
heavily escorted, would attack this target and 
engage the enemy while the rest of the bomber 
column turned and bombed a multitude of targets 
to the rear along the route. Unhampered by 
enemy fighter attack, these formations were 
able to focus all attention on accurate bombing 
of the target. 

Enemy Reaction: With his fighter force 
split between defense of strategic targets and 
army cooperation, the enemy truly was in diffic- 
ulties. He knew that further loss of oil from 



bomb damage meant a quick end of the war. But 
his attempts at defense against our bombing 
attacks cost him aircraft and pilots which off- 
set by far any results he attained. At the 
same time, the German ground army was demanding 
far more air support than the Luftwaffe could 
offer, and German army cooperation aircraft 
were already taking a terrible mauling from the 
Allied tactical air forces. And the Russian 
forces to the east had to be stopped. 

Rockets and Jets : During this phase 
German rocket and jet-propelled aircraft made 
their appearance. For a detailed discussion of 
the aircraft see Section 3 of this chapter. 



137 




Un to 1200 hours . This mission was unique. It represented the only 
instance in the war that the 'Eighth Air Force bombers received a sub- 
ordinate role, and fighters played the major part. 

The Eighth's bombers, equipped with devices to jam enemy intercep- 
tion of our V.H.F. radio messages, were sent out early over the North 
Sea. Two Air Divisions of bombers with light escort flew well south 
over Allied Occupied territory to bomb the marshalling yard at Offenburg 
and another Air Division bombed the marshalling yard at Bingen, further 
North on the Shine. The enemy warning system failed to pick up the 
southern bomber formation and "saw" the Bingen raiders only dimly. . 
Hence, when the enemy realized that large forces of aircraft were headed 
over the North Sea toward the Zuider Zee, he concluded that they must be 
the two unseen bomber divisions. 

The fact was that ten grouns of our fighters were crossing the 
North Sea in a long column similar to a bomber formation, screened from 
radio interception by our countermeasures. g-10/lO clouds over the 
North Sea, and broken cloud with heavy contrails inland aided in the 
deception. 

Some ?50 single-engine enemy fighters from bases between Achmer and 
Kassel, assembled in the Munster-Paderborn area and were then directed 
northwest to make interception of the supposed bombers. Three of the 
Eighth Air Force fighter groups were put on interception courses by 
Microwave Early Warning controllers, with two other groups joining in 
later. 



After 120 hour s. A combat between some 500 fighters, enemy and 
friendly, ensued. 

Meanwhile, 250 more enemy fighters were assembling North of Hanover. 
Microwave Early Warning controllers directed three other fighter groups 
to make interception, with the result that another large-scale fighter 
battle ensued. 

A third enemy assembly of about 100 enemy fighters took place. 
These were beyond Microwave Early Warning range and their exact locality 
is unknown but probably v/as the vicinity of Brandenburg. 

One group of Eighth Air Force f i'ghter- bombers carrying a ?50 pound 
G.P. bomb apiece, successfully attacked a marshalling yard, a railroad 
station and an airfield near Lechfield deep in Germany and returned 
without incident. 

Our bomber formations, with their escort, saw no enemy fighters, 
either before or after bombing Bingen and Offenburg through-the-overcast. 

Our fighters claimed 102-4-11 enemy aircraft destroyed, probably 
destroyed and damaged for the loss of 11, mostly to causes unknown. 
Fighters also claimed 4g locomotives destroyed, 22 damaged; lh freight 
cars destroyed, 106 damaged; and oil cars, coaches, barges, sheds, etc. 
too numerous to list. 



138 




2^ 1 



l^ "1 




Chart C . Mission of 2J November, igM 
As "Seen" "by German Fighter Controllers 

11 50 hours . The above maps shov/ the plots made "by enemy fighter 
controllers of what they "believed was taking place. 

At 1130 hours, the enemy was reporting a great bomber force under 
heavy fighter escort approaching the Vfeser River and extending far "back 
over the North Sea. Specific "plots" were made where a B-17 or a fight- 
er aircraft is shown in "black. Aircraft reported as "unidentified" are 
shown "by outlined aircraft. 

The enemy, deprived of radio interception of our messages, was 
thoroughly confused as to the facts. Once his controllers had concluded 
that this great force was made up of "bombers and escort, nothing seems 
to have shaken this belief. It is probable that conditions of cloud 
and contrails further deceived them. 



Chart D . 

1515 hours . By this hour, Eighth Air Force fighters actually were 
crossing the Dutch coast and the perplexed enemy was plotting a wild 
maze of aircraft routes over much of his territory. 

He indicated one force of bombers with escort fighters to be head- 
ing from the vicinity of Leipzig toward Berlin. Near Frankfurt, bombers 
and fighters were plotted as heading both eastward and westward. A 
concentration of bombers was shown flying southwestward along the east 
side of the Ruhr. Unidentified aircraft heading toward the west spread 
from the Ruhr to Heligoland Bight. 

Enemy plots showed our bombers crossing westward over France when 
actually they had been in that area considerably earlier. 

This mission, though admittedly taking place under unusual 
conditions, indicates the possibilities of deception opened up by a 
control system based on radar "watching" and radio message interception. 



139 




Chart A . Mission of 5 December, l°Uh - Berlin 

Penetration . This mission is notable first because of the propor- 
tion of fighter escort force to bombers (S59 fighters dispatched with 
only 56g bombers); and, second, because of the complete inability of a 
large force of enemy fighters to penetrate the escort sufficiently to 
press home an attack on the bombers. 

Twelve Combat Wings of bombers escorted by 12 Groups of P-51s, flew 
directly toward Berlin which as capital of the Reich was a sensitive 
spot for the enemy. Some fighters were specifically assigned to escort 
duty while others were free to join combat with the enemy and pursue 

him anywhere. 

Four Combat Wings of B-24s followed the earlier bombers, turning 
off at Zwolle with three groups of escort fighters to bomb Minister. 
This light escort was permissible because of a screened route and 
shallow penetration. 

A "mandrel" screen was flown over the North Sea in an attempt to 
deny the enemy access to our V.H.F. radio conversations. 

About 310 single-engine enemy fighters began to assemble near 
Berlin. Possibly the radio countermeasures acted to disrupt their 
timing. At any rate, they were not fully assembled when the Eighth 
Air Force began bombing Berlin. 

Approximately 200 single-engine enemy fighters assigned to ground 
attack near the ground battle area, arose to attack Royal Air Force 
bomber forces heading for Hamm and the Schwanmenauel Dam on the Roer 
River, although they left our B-2^s free to bomb Minister. 



Chart B . 

Withdrawal . After Berlin had been bombed, some 130 enemy fighters 
attempted interception but were routed by our escort without a shot 
being fired at the bombers. Units numbering 35 to 60 continued to 
attempt attacks on the bombers. But our escort had the situation so 
well in hand that 82 enemy fighters were destroyed in this area, one 
was claimed by the bombers. 

Royal Air Force Lancasters with Spitfire escort were due to bomb 
the Hamm marshalling yards and the dam on the Roer River, as our bombers 
neared the same longitude on withdrawal. Of the tactical enemy fighters 
which rose in this area, some 75 made attempts at interception. However, 
Royal Air Force escort fighters engaged at least 50 of the enemy so that 
the attacks on the bombers were few. 

About 12 Ke-262s working in pairs, made an appearance in the area 
of Bummer Lake. Mustang escort prevented attacks on the Fortresses. 

Eighth Air Force fighters claimed 90-7-2H enemy aircraft destroyed, 
probably destroyed and damaged. The bombers made no claims. 

12 bombers were lost, none to enemy fighters, g to flak, and k 
to unknown causes. 18 fighters were lost, only U of which were to 
enemy fighters. 



140 




Chart A . Energy Fighte r D ispos it ion 

1 January, 19^5 

With the ground battle lines now at the Rhine, enemy fighters were 
concentrated in Germany. The number of aircraft had increased consider- 
ably, but the quality of pilots had deteriorated. 

The above disposition represents the enemy's attempt to solve his 
dilemma. The entire strength of the German Air Force was insufficient 
either for ground battle cooperation or defense against heavy bomber 
operations. Hence, much of enemy fighter strength was disposed where 
it might be used for both purposes. A purely strategic defensive dis- 
position was still maintained around Berlin. 



Chart. 3 . Enemy Fighter Disposition, 1 May, 1945 

Just Before the End of the YJar . 

Just before the final collapse of German armed resistance, the 
Allied armies and the Red army had joined up, cutting Germany in two. 
The Luftwaffe was thus split into a Northern and a Southern disposition. 

Numbers of aircraft still were large. But combat effectiveness of 
the force v/as gone. 



141 



9. TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT 



Summary of the Invasion : On 6 June 19*+^. 
Allied airborne and seaborne forces landed on 
the coast of France to launch a full-scale 
assault upon "Portress Europe" from the west. 
The initial landings, preceded by powerful air 
and naval bombardment, took place along a wide 
front between Cherbourg end Le Havre. 

More than k, 000 ships with several thou- 
sand smaller craft made the rough crossing to 
a landing just after daybreak. There was a 
full noon but the weather was poor after having 
already caused a 3 day postponement. Naval 
bombardment covered the landings, and mine- 
sweepers helped in clearing the Channel. An 
unprecedented fighter concentration guarded the 
invasion assembly and intercepted or chased 
away the few German aircraft which appeared. 

Months of air bombardment had weakened 
the foe. In early spring battles the Eighth 
Air Force, with the help of the Royal Air Force, 
had rendered the Luftwaffe ineffective. The 
bombing of the French railway system, and pre- 
cision attacks upon the Seine and Loire bridges, 
seriously hindered mobility of the Wehrmacht. 
Beginning on "D" minus 30 the Eighth Air Force 
and Royal Air Force attacked coastal batteries, 
headquarters, radar and radio installations, 
crippling defenses and disrupting communications 
Field Marshall Runstedt had the difficult task 
of disposing his forces so as to anticipate the 
main thrust of the Allied invasion. These air 
attacks were sufficiently widespread to make 
him uncertain to the last concerning where it 
would come. Meanwhile, low-flying fighters 
and medium bombers concentrated on road and 
rail targets, and subjected enemy movements in 
Northern France during the entire thirty days 
before D-Day to harassing attacks. 

Because of this preparation by air and 
sea power, the invasion went according to 
plan. By the morning of the 7th, several 
beachheads had been consolidated, and advances 
up to 10 miles inland had been made in some 
areas. Mr. Churchill told the House of Commons 
that General Eisenhower had achieved "tactical 
surprise". 

Initially the Germans were slow to react. 
Still dazed by dawn attacks of the Eighth Air 
Force, enemy coastal defense units failed to 
prevent a link-up between detachments of Allied 
paratroops holding bridges across the Orne 
River Canal, and Allied troops moving inland 
from the coast. As a result Bayeux was 



captured, cutting the main highway and railroad 
from Paris. Fighting also was taking place in 
the streets of C a en, 15 mile's to the southeast. 

Troops landing further west took the 
coastal towns to the northwest of Bayeux and 
advanced inland to join with airborne units. 
Still others came ashore in the southeastern 
crook of the Cherbourg Peninsula then pushed 
west and northwest to link up with paratroopers 
further inland. 

Against these forces Runstedt committed 
22 divisions. He disposed four Panzer divisions 
to defend the Caen area alone, confirming the 
importance which the Allies placed on this 
communication hub. SHAEF reported the total 
strength of the German army in France to be 60 
divisions, some of uncertain quality. 

On June 11th, after five days of bitter 
fighting and continued reinforcement, Field 
Marshall (then General) Montgomery said: "The 
beaches are now behind us". 

Immediately after D-Day the role of air- 
power was two-fold: (l) to isolate and neutral- 
ize the battle zone (2) to destroy transporta- 
tion and communication within its confines. 
While heavy bombers attacked rail junctions 
feeding the battle area, and post- holed air- 
fields in the vicinity, fighter-bombers stalked 
enemy motor transport, tanks, and troop concen- 
trations. Systematically, Allied air-power 
paralyzed the four principal lateral railroads 
in the Brittany- Paris arc, thereby placing a 
heavy strain on motor transport. The enemy 
found it unsafe to move except by night. 

In the face of this incessant bombardment 
enemy air reaction was sporadic and ineffective. 

During the period June 6 to 10, Allied Air 
Forces flew 32,500 sorties and dropped at least 
27,000 tons of bombs. In spite of this record 
effort, Allied losses were extremely light. 

By the evening of the 13th, Allied troops 
had expanded their beachheads as far inland as 
20 miles at the point of deepest penetration 
and were fighting along an SO-mile front extend- 
ing in a long curve from Montebourg on the 
Cherbourg Peninsula to Escoville about 5 miles 
east of Caen. 

At this point General Eisenhower summed up 
the situation for his troops with the following 
words: 



"Although the landing operation was at- 
tended by hazards and difficulties greater than 
have ever before faced an invading army, the 
first great obstacle has been surmounted". 

Preparation for the Invasion : To prepare 
for ground invasion, the Eighth Air Force, 
along with all the other Air Forces, was com- 
mitted to a broad program to insure the success 
of the beachhead. The part which the Eighth 
Air Force was to play can be seen from the 
following list of assignments: first, to con- 
tinue the attack on the Luftwaffe through bomb- 
ing enemy airframe and engine factories, 
assembly plants, accessory plants, and air- 
craft on the ground. Second, to bomb strategic 
rail centers, particularly those with servicing 
and repair facilities essential to the mainten- 
ance of rail communication in Northern France, 
the Low Countries and Western Germany. Third, 
to bomb the coastal defense batteries, V-weapon 
sites and selected naval installations. Fourth, 
to interdict all airfields in an arc 130 miles 
from Caen in Normandy. 

The tempo of bombing rose. A major effort 
was made to utilize all possible weather in 
order to get maximum effect on the targets 
selected. The Luftwaffe, realizing that the 
tempo could mean only one thing - invasion - 
made increasing attempt to intercept. The rate 
of attrition of enemy fighters began to rise. 

Bombing of coastal installations took 
place equally at various points. The arc of 
our bombing gave no focus to any potential 
location for the landings. In 15 days of 
tactical operation prior to D-Day, the Eighth 
Air Force made attacks on 52 airfields, 1+5 
marshalling yards and ik bridges. In addition, 
6 attacks were made on coastal fortifications, 
h on gun positions and several other bombing 
attacks and fighter sweeps against transporta- 
tion in Northwest Germany. 

The attack on rail transportation was 
successful in disrupting seriously, the enemy's 
communications. Bridges were destroyed over 
the Seine, marshalling yards were interdicted. 
Also, the attack destroyed many locomotives and 
much rolling stock. Facilities and equipment 
of all kinds v/ere smashed. 

Highway transportation was seriously 
interrupted. Road bridges and choke points 
in towns were destroyed. The enemy was forced 
into much cross-country movement of traffic. 
Telephone and telegraph lines adjacent to road 

(CONTINUED ON PAGE 1^3) 



142 



9. TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT 



and railroads were seriously injured. 

The Luftwaffe was forced to withdraw to 
airfields further and further from the coastal 
area. Though he could repair some airfields 
rapidly, the multitude of airfields now under 
attack, plus the injury to his force and equip- 
ment, was more than he could stand. Enemy air 

resistance in the forward area "became smaller 

and smaller. 

P-Pay : On D-Day itself 1,350 bombers of 
the Eighth Air Force formed up in 225 squadrons 
of six aircraft each. This huge force made a 
Tire-dawn assembly and followed the route which 
would give them a right- angle attack on the 
"beach targets. This would give the H2X over- 
cast "bombing equipment a clearly defined line 
at the "beach, minimizing risk of bombing our 
own troops. Over 1,000 of the bombers attacked 
beach installations, while small forces attack- 
ed Caen and alternative targets. 

Because of overcast weather, extra safety 
factors had been added to prevent bombing of 
friendly troops. This resulted in placing the 
weight of our bombs 300 to U00 yards behind the 
beaches. The effects of shock and disruption 
on the enemy were tremendous. Huge clouds of 
smoke and dust arose, acting as a screen to the 
landing operations. 

Enemy air reaction was negligible, the 
only bomber losses being to enemy ground 
defenses. 

Three other missions were flown during the 
day by the Eighth Air Force. Gee-H Pathfinder 
aircraft lead some bombers in to attack road 
choke points in Caen, while our fighters swept 
the skies surrounding the area. Other forces 
were directed to transportation choke points 
in towns, some to the south and some to the 
east of the beachhead. H2X technique was used 
because of the overcast and the fact that the 
targets were beyond the range of our Gee-H 
stations. Though hampered by bad weather, both 
for assembly, route and bombing, good results 
were obtained. 

On these latter missions no enemy aircraft 
appeared and even the ground fire was meager. 
The only aircraft lost were two bombers which 
collided due to bad visibility conditions. 

Fighter Operations on D-Day : Fighter 
operations virtually were continuous throughout 
the day. Two- thirds of the Eighth Air Force 



fighters were employed during the periods of 
the bombing missions and one- third during 
intervals between the missions. Fighter-bomber 
attacks were executed against 17 railroad and 
road bridges, 10 marshalling yards, k railroad 
junctions and a multitude of miscellaneous 
targets. What few enemy aircraft appeared, 
were promptly engaged and the skies swept clear. 
2g ' enemy fighters were destroyed and ik damaged 
to 5 Eighth Air Force fighters lost to enemy 
aircraft attack. 

Tactical Operations after D-Day : Tactical 
operations in the eleven months after D-Day 
until the end of the war nay b.e placed in the 
following categories: 

(1) cooperation with ground forces to 

break through the enemy lines: 

(2) Attacks to neutralize enemy strong- 
points; 

(3) Missions to supply forward ground 
elements; 

(h) Missions to neutralize the enemy 

counter-offensive; 
(5) Missions to cause general disruption 

of enemy supplies and communi cat ions. 

Break-through Operations : Operations of 
this nature were carried out at Caen on the IS 
July and the 8 August Ijkk; at St. L on the 
2k and. 25 July Ijkk; and at Eschveiller on l6 
November I9M1. These operations were carried 
out by the Eighth Air Force and various other 
air forces. All accomplished the objective: 
namely, to paralyze the enemy defense long 
enough for our ground forces to exploit the 
situation and break-through the enemy lines. 

By the time the mission was run at 
Eschweiller in November techniques had been 
developed, and many security measures adopted, 
to eliminate hazard to Allied ground troops 
from our bombing. Earlier missions had been 
marred by small numerical losses to Allied 
troops. These losses, unavoidable under the 
circumstances, were negligible compared to the 
results of the bombing. The ease with which 
Allied ground forces were able to exploit the 
paralizing effect on the enemy of Eighth Air 
Force bombing, reduced over-all casualties for 
these operations to a major degree including 
the small number of casualties resulting from 
friendly bombing fire. Had the same troops 
moved forward under a huge rolling barrage of 
artillery fire required to accomplish a similar 
result, the losses probably would have been far 
greater. 



Attacks to Neutralize Enemy Strongpoints : 
The Third Army's victorious sweep across France 
halted temporarily at the fortifications near 
Metz. Further advance was imperative. A direct 
assault on the Metz fortifications would have 
resulted in too great losses, and General 
Pat ton requested the cooperation of the Eighth 
Air Force. 

The routes along which the Third Army 
wished to proceed eastward were under the 
short-range fire of the Metz forts. A tempor- 
ary silencing of these forts was required. The 
Eighth Air Force agreed to bomb targets around 
Metz and Thionville to accomplish this purpose. 

Bad weather persisted during the limited 
period allowed for this mission. Again over- 
cast bombing techniques were employed. Though 
the bombing caused the enemy small loss of life, 
the desired result was accomplished. The shock 
of mass bombing, and the confusion which arose 
mid smoke and dust, permitted the Third Army 
to continue its advance. 

Missions to Supply Forward Ground Elements: 
The Eighth Air Force was called upon" to deliver 
supplies at various periods under many condi- 
tions. Perhaps the most spectacular deliveries 
were those to Allied airborne troops near 
Arnhem; the supply dropping to the French 
Maquis; and to the Poles in Warsaw; and the 
delivery of fuel to forward tank elements after 
the Hhine crossing. Supply dropping became 
more accurate as experience was gained and 
better techniques were developed. In their 
final form, they made possible a far greater 
exploitation for our ranging tanks when the 
tanks broke through the enemy lines. 

Missions to Neutralize the Enemy Counte r- 
Offensive : Field Marshall ^unstedt's counter- 
offensive in the Ardennes Forest on 16 December 
l^k, committed two armies to the attack with 
wholly new tactics for the enemy. The terrain 
and cover permitted a type of guerrilla war- 
fare which the enemy carried on with great 
skill. Though at the same time this terrain 
afforded some obstacles and impediments to the 
enemy, it gave far greater difficulty to us, 
because the enemy had control of the roads 
crossing the area. 

The redeployment of Allied ground forces 
to stop the enemy' s thrust presented a diffi- 
cult problem. The nature and direction of the 
thrust suggested a number of possible enemy 
objectives. Redeployment which would secure 
(CONTINUED OK PAGE lUH) 



143 



9. TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT 



against all, would thin out and weaken the 
Allied forces. 

General Eisenhower's strategy was to dry- 
up the power of the German Army at its source, 
while confining its offensive within a limited 
area. To help carry out these tactics the 
Eighth Air Force was called upon to bomb 
marshalling yards and communication centers 
east of the base of the German salient, with 
the object of denying mobility to the enemy 
and at the same time cutting his supply lines. 

The power of the enemy' s thrust was not 
spent until a ten-day advance had brought him 
near the line of the Meuse River. He had not 
been permitted to swing northward to capture 
the Allied supply base at Liege. At the Meuse, 
he found the river swollen with torrential 
rains, and the only bridges powerfully held by 
our ground forces. 

3y now the accumulative effect of bombing 
had dried up his flow of supplies and replace- 
ments. By January 1, 19^5 his forward elements 
had withdrawn as far eastward as Rochefort. 
The momentum of his attack was spent. 

Now began the painful task of withdrawing 
from his salient, hampered by lack of fuel, 
weakened by lack of replacements, and under 
powerful attacks on the ground and in the air 
whenever weather permitted. The distance which 
his penetration had covered in ten days took 
Von Runstedt 30 days for withdrawal at the 
cost of serious depletion of his weapons and 
equipment. 

German generals are practically unanimous 



in their opinion that the tactical use of our 
air during this counter-offensive was decisive 
in frustrating this counter-offensive. 

Missions to Cause General Disruption of 
Enemy Supplies and Communications : After D-Day 
the Eighth Air Force periodically was assigned 
the task of disrupting enemy rail communica- 
tions. To begin with, the attack on great 
marshalling yards, commenced many months 
previously, was continued. 

The most important marshalling yards were 
ones through which huge volumes of materials 
passed on the way to enemy manufacturing 
centers. "By bombing these great marshalling 
yards, the flow of materials for war manu- 
facture was disrupted, first, by the damage to 
the marshalling yards, second, by the des- 
truction of locomotives, and rolling stock; 
third, by the dislocation of facilities 
necessary for railroad and good repairs; and 
fourth, by loss of the actual materials in 
transit. Such attacks resulted in slowing down 
Germany's entire war economy: they constituted 
a means for preventing the delivery of weapons 
to German soldiers. 

Other great marshalling yards, further 
forward, were great reservoirs of supplies 
going directly into military use. Bombing 
missions against these marshalling yards were 
direct attacks on the immediate supply lines 
of the armed forces. 

Toward the end of loi+h, the large marshall- 
ing yards had been thoroughly interdicted. A 
new phase in transportation attack now began, 
against a profusion of smaller marshalling yards 



serving smaller industrial communities, and 
acting as diversion centers for traffic which 
the great marshalling yards no longer could 
handle. 

With enemy air defenses waning, task forces 
of the Eighth Air Force could break down into 
smaller units and attack a multitude of targets 
on any one mission. These smaller marshalling 
yards became the focus of this type of attack. 

On 22 February, the entire Allied air 
force was ordered to break down into souadrons 
and attack a series of rail junctions, 'bridges 
and intersections extending all the way from 
the Swiss-German frontier to the Baltic. This 
attack signified that the exploitation phase in 
the air war had commenced. Individual squadrons 
bombed these targets while fighters provided a 
protective screen between the target areas and 
the areas of enemy fighter disposition. 

Since these small targets were far too 
numerous for the enemy to defend by anti- 
aircraft installations, Eighth Air Force bombers 
were able to bomb at much lower altitudes than 
on previous attacks with considerably increased 
accuracy. This attack met with small losses and 
was repeated the next day. 

It is too early to have a final judgment 
on the effect of this exploitation program. 
However, it is now known that air operations 
against transportation across the whole width 
of Germany, north and south, resulted in the 
paralysis of the enemy' s industrial and economic 
war machine, which resulted directly in the 
speedy collapse of German armed resistance. 



10. 



SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE 



The outstanding accomplishments of the 
Eighth Air Force were first, the destruction of 
the German Air Force as an. effective military 
machine; second, the destruction of German oil 
in cooperation with the o-ther Allied Air Forces; 
and third, the disruption of the German economic 
and industrial machine through attacks on trans- 
portation, also a cooperative undertaking. 



The Defeat of the German Air Force : The 
defeat of the German Air Force was peculiarly 
an Eighth Air Force task. The Eighth Air Force 
was the major instrument over a period of 
nearly three years in fighting the German Air 
Force in daylight and forcing the German Air 
Force into a war of attrition which would con- 
sume its combat strength. The strategy of 



attack was based on two conceptions. The first 
was that an experienced pilot was irreplaceable; 
that a pilot eliminated, therefore, was worth 
far more than a destroyed aircraft alone. 
Second, that time for manufacture of aircraft 
could not be replaced; that by disrupting the 
enemy's aircraft industry and by preventing the 
expansion of the Luftwaffe at a time when the 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE lU5) 



144 



10. SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE. 



Allies were building up rapidly, Germany would 
lose ground in the race for air supremacy which 
the nation never could recover. 

In gaining victory over the German Air 
Force in the air, with resulting heavy German 
pilot loss, the outstanding factor was the 
American long-range fighter. Its first appear- 
ance on the front was followed rapidly Toy large 
numbers of the aircraft. Hence, the tactical 
advantage gained was not lost by permitting the 
enemy to study this new weapon and prepare 
defenses before the weapon could be exploited 
in large numbers. The result was that the 
Germans never developed effective tactics to 
cope with long-range fighters used by the Eighth 
Air Force. 

Before the Eighth Air Force bombing of the 
German aircraft industry was begun, factories 
for the assembly of aircraft were known to be 
easily replaceable. But it was realized that a 
delay in enemy production would be effective in 
giving America's huge and growing aircraft out- 
put a chance to gain overwhelming numerical 
superiority. 

Because the enemy's aircraft assembly 
plants offered accessible targets and other 



target systems in aircraft production were not 
so accessible, assembly and component plants 
were chosen for attack. It was realized also 
that the part of the target most valuable to the 
enemy - skilled workmen - rarely would be des- 
troyed by bombing. However, the attack on 
German aircraft assembly was pressed with such 
vigor that plant dispersal and the construction 
of underground factories so inconvenienced and 
delayed the Germans that they were effectively 
out-distanced by the Allies in the race to 
build-up production and first line strength. 

Destruction of German Oil : Attacks by the 
various Allied air forces reduced below the 
barest minimum, production oil giving mobility 
to the German forces in the air, on the ground 
and at sea. The oil offensive hinged on 
successful crippling of the aggregation of 
refineries at Ploesti. Once this had been 
accomplished, the drying up of the German oil 
supply became an attainable objective. 

With the advent of long-range fighters, the. 
Eighth Air Force gained a capability of pene- 
trating enemy defenses sufficient to attack all 
synthetic oil plants and crude oil refineries 
in Germany. This program, once initiated, was 
pressed forward with all possible vigor. The 
results were accumulative. Resulting shortages 



of aviation fuel reduced both the enemy's 
capacity to resist with his air force attacks 
on oil, and his ability to train pilot replace- 
ments . 

The drying up of the oil supply at its 
source greatly weakened the German ground army, 
through loss of mobility in the armored forces 
themselves, through a reduction in motorized 
transport and supplies. 

Destruction of the German Transportation 
System ; The second objective of the Eighth Air 
Force was to cripple the German military, 
economic and industrial capacity to wage war. 
Cutting supply lines is a time-honored method 
of crippling a military machine, but a new 
factor in war, made possible by strategic 
bombing, is the crippling of supply lines to 
vital industries in the enemy country. The 
Eighth Air Force, with other air forces in the 
European Theater, joined in the attack on supply 
lines behind the German Army. This attack 
simultaneously disrupted the transportation 
system of Germany to the point where industrial 
production came virtually to a standstill. 

The bombing of German rail transportation, 
motor and canal traffic systems was augmented 
by the attacks on oil. 



II. THE AIR WAR WITH GERMANY 



Judged in the Light of the Principles of War 

America's use of strategic air power was 
based on a strategy of limited aims which were 
to be arrived at according to a time schedule 
based on the intended date of invasion. 

These were attained both in effect and on 
time. 

Absence of enemy air interference at the 
time of invasion, and the relative . immunity of 
Allied troops from air attack during the rest of 
the war, resulted direcftly from the ascendancy 
over the German Air Force gained by the time of 
invasion and maintained thereafter. 

How thoroughly air power crippled Germany's 
capacity to resist is indicated by the rapidity 



of the collapse of the Wehrmacht - 11 months 
after the invasion. High German officers and 
officials confirm this. 

So America's air strategy was highly 
successful. Because of Allied air domination, 
moderate sized land forces were able to carry 
out a difficult ard hazardous crossing of an 
extensive water barrier and achieve a success- 
ful landing without air opposition; then invade 
to the heart of enemy power and thereafter 
rapidly force a complete military collapse. This 
took place with a loss of Allied lives which was 
most economic when considered in terms of past 
landing operations. 

Offensive action was fundamental to the 
tactics employed. When an Eighth Air Force 
bomber-fighter team fought its way to enemy tar- 



gets ana back to base, it accomplished two 
offensive purposes. Eot only had enemy targets 
been bombed and disrupted, but enemy fighters 
had been destroyed and enemy pilots killed. It 
was the persistent pressure of this dual air 
attack which achieved and thereafter maintained 
air supremacy. Our long-range and short-range 
fighters had a primary defensive assignment: to 
protect bombers. But the tactics used by the 
Eighth Air Force in- carrying out its assignment 
took this offensive form; the best way to 
defend the bombers was to destroy the effective- 
ness of the enemy air force. A sure way to draw 
enemy fighters into combat was to use the bomb- 
ers as bait and by attacking vital targets force 
the enemy to intercept. Therefore, escorted 
bombers provided the best way for fighters of 
the Eighth to go on the offensive against the 
German Air Force. 

(COKTIIIIiED on page 1U6) 



145 



II. THE AIR WAR WITH GERMANY 



The primary aim of the Eighth Air Force 
during decisive phases of the war was to meet 
the enemy and destroy him. Hence, the decision 
of the enemy to oppose a concentration of force 
with mass fighter attacks suited our aim of gain- 
ing air supremacy within a limited time. Because 
the Eighth's purpose was to cripple the enemy's 
air force in being, cripple his capacity to 
replace aircraft and crews, deny him much of his 
aircraft repair facilities and, in the meantime, 
continue the build-up of our own forces, it was 
a continuing objective to induce maximum fighter 
opposition on every mission launched. It was 
believed that by forcing early maximum opposi- 
tion, the cost of defeating the German Air Force 
would be minimized. 

The Eighth Air Force was continuously 
available, when required in the interests of 
security. Two major security assignments were 
undertaken. The V -weapons threatened the 
terminal of the Allied supply lines. It was 
essential that full exploitation of these 
weapons be prevented. Earlier, the successes of 
German submarines against Atlantic supply lines 
called for the application of all available 
force to prevent further sinkings. These 
security tasks were carried out at some expense 
to strategical operations. 

Surprise was obtained, strategically, 
through weapons which initially were discounted 
by the enemy for too long to permit him to 
counter successfully. The enemy apparently 
believed that daylight bombing could not be 
carried out continuously or in such a manner as 
to constitute a real danger to Germany's war 
economy. High German officials also found it 
inconceivable that fighters could be constructed 
by the Allies so as to have both long-range, and 
first-rate combat capability. They refused to 
believe this until P-51s and P-38s were escort- 
ing bombers deep into the Reich. 

Tactical surprise was obtained by Eighth 
Air Force fighters each time the range of our 
P-47s was increased by larger tanks. There 
also, were a number of occasions when tactical 
surprise was obtained and exploited by our bomb- 
er force with great success. But generally, 
bomber missions were provocative in purpose Tfith 
the destruction of enemy fighters as one of the 
major objectives. It was decided that if sur- 



prise would cause reduction in the number of 
enemy fighters intercepting, then efforts to 
surprise the enemy should be dispensed with 
since they would reduce potential success. 

Mobility was inherent in the Eighth Air 
Force. Unlike the Luftwaffe, it was not faced 
with the necessity of providing mobility in 
strategic disposition. Eighth Air Force bases 
remained permanent throughout the war, even when 
French, Belgian, and German territory was avail- 
able. No useful increase in capability would 
have resulted from movement to more advanced 
bases, largely because of the logistic limita- 
tions involved. 

Flexibility was present to a high degree 
in the operations of the Eighth Air Force 
fighter force. Early tactics which tied the 
escort to the bombers were fairly inflexible. 
But later tactics, which permitted part of the 
fighters to chase enemy fighters wherever they 
went, made the force increasingly flexible. 
Permission to "sweep the deck" after escort 
duty provided even further improvement. 

The requirement to fly bombers in large 
formations denied much route flexibility to the 
bomber force. However, it became increasingly 
flexible in its ability to attack targets. 

Cooperation was maintained to a high degree 
between the Eighth Air Force fighters and bomb- 
ers. Cooperation between the Ninth and the 
Eighth Air Forces was good. And the Eighth Air 
Force cooperation with the ground forces helped 
to secure ground successes on numerous occasions 
when the Eighth Air Force was requested to 
provide an addition of fire power in the ground 
battle. 

The German Air Force 

The strategic use of the German Air Force 
in the west by 1-9^2 had become defensive prim- 
arily. Much of this force was disposed for 
interception of Hoyal Air Force night bombers. 
The enemy daylight fighter force was disposed 
in a coastal defense zone extending from Denmark 
to the Bay of Biscay, and entirely defensive in 
purpose. Germany's bomber force was not large 
and lacked capability for sustained operation 
because bomber production was being curtailed 



in favor of fighters. 

Hence, the enemy's use of his air force 
missed the major point concerning air power: 
that its greatest value in war is as an offens- 
ive weapon. 

The enemy had no insurmountable difficulty 
in concentrating his fighters against Eighth 
Air Force attacks during many months of the air 
war. As soon as our bomber force reached 
sufficient proportions to require mass inter- 
ception, enemy controllers employed radar and 
radio intercepts to provide warning of impending 
attacks. This warning, plus the time used by 
the bombers in reaching enemy territory, gave 
the enemy adequate time to assemble defensive 
forces even from extended dispositions. However, 
later in the war, Eighth Air Force fighter 
sweeps often hindered or disrupted enemy assem- 
blies. 

But the Luftwaffe's tactics in applying 
fighter attacks against our bombers were, 
during most of the war, a vitiation of the 
principle of concentration. Interceptions were 
made when and where various enemy units could 
make them, without reference to other units. 
Later in the war after the German Air Force 
fighter force had lost much of its combat 
capability for decisive action, the enemy 
evolved somewhat sounder tactics. Large assem- 
blies were carried out with the purpose of 
making mass attacks to swamp our defenses. He 
continued weak, however, in the matter of con- 
centrating his attacks on single formations, 
with the object of swamping the bomber defense, 
depleting the limited supply of ammunition, and 
gaining the accumulated effect of sustained 
attack. 

Surprise was difficult of attainment by 
the enemy against the Eighth's Task Forces 
since these were constantly disposed in a de- 
fensive attitude. The enemy had some success 
with numerous small-scale ruses. But he never 
accomplished a major success through surprise - 
and he missed many good opportunities. 

Instead of varying his tactics radically, 
from time to time, the enemy tended strongly to 
pattern in his operations. A large-scale sur- 
prise attack on airfields in the United Kingdom, 
for example, might have caused difficulty and 
(CONTINUED ON PAGE lH7) 



146 



THE AIR WAR WITH GERMANY 



disruption for the Eighth Air Force. But the 
only attempts to carry such an attack were made 
too late in the war and with too little force. 

The mobility of his force was high. Units 
were shifted from base to base, and even the 
base units were capable of raoid redeployment. 



Flexibility of the enemy air force was high, 
largely because of the nature of his control 
system and because of the fact that his opera- 
tions were over his own territory. 

But flexibility in employment of German 
fighters was in some instances over-done. 



Fighters trained and experienced in attacking 
bombers were redeployed as ground attack units. 
Units experienced in the fight on the Eastern 
Front were sent to the Western Front into an 
entirely different type of operation. Valuable 
experience gained at great cost, thus, was wasted 
almost entirely. 



75 
72 

69 

66 

63 

60 

57 

54 

51 

48 

45 

42 

39 

36 

33 

30 

27 

24 

21 

18 

IS 

12 

9 

6 

3 
O 



TONS OF BOMbS DROPPED 




a's'o'n'dIj'f'm'aimijIjia's'o'n'dijif'm'aimijIjIa's'ioInIdIjIfIm'a 

104? ' IQ'43 iCVAA I inxt 



|9'43 



1944 



1945 



147 



PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF EIGHTH AIR FORCE BOMBS 

SEPTEMBER 1944-31 DECEMBER 1944 (EXCLUSIVE OF THREE ATTACKS IN CLOSE COORDINATION WITH GROUND FORCES) 



DAMAGE- LOSS DUE TO FLAK 

44.53 

Bombers damaged by flak. ' 

4000 Bomber* lost to flak 

(by 3 month totals) 



3000 3O0 




2000 200 



IOOO lOO 



50% 



%ot Bombers Attacking Which 
Were Hit b v Flak 



TJs^o^JdI jI f'm'a'mIj'j'aIs'oInIdIj'fImIa'mIjIj'aIsio'nidIj'f' Ia's'o'nidIj'f'm'aimUUUisio'nidIj'f'mia'mij'j'aisioinidJj'f 

I942 I943 I944 '45 I942 I943 I944 '45 



APPENDIX A 

DEVELOPMENT 

OF THE 
ORGANIZATION 



THE MOVE ACROSS 



Four days after Pearl Harbor, Germany- 
declared, war on the United States. This act 
brought down upon German industry and on all 
other sources of supply and replacement of the 
German Armed Forces, the most concentrated air 
assault in military history. When this com- 
bined air offensive was decided upon at a joint 
meeting of the British and American chiefs of 
staff, its purpose was determined to he: 

(1) to gain air superiority over the 
German Air Force in order to make 
possible Continental invasion, and 

(2) to weaken fatally the enemy's 
military economic and industrial 
capacity to wage war. 

To fulfill America's part in this mission 
it was decided to mount 52 heavy bombardment 
groups and 56 fighter groups, activated in 
America, but operationally trained in and 
launched from the British Isles against 
Fortress Europe. On 28 January 19H2 at 
Savannah Army Air Base, Georgia, the first 
in a series of historic milestones was reached 
with the activation of Headquarters and Head- 
quarter Squadron, Eighth Air Force, and 
Headquarter Squadron, Eighth Air Force Base 
Command (later Eighth Air Force Service 
Command) . 

Under command of Lieutenant General (then 



Brigadier General) Ira C. Eaker (appointed 31 
January 19^+2) preparations were speeded to 
carry out the proposed offensive mission and 
shortly thereafter Headquarters of Eighth 
Bomber Command (activated 23 February I9U2) 
was established in Great Britain. The Eighth 
Ground Air Support Command was activated on 
28 April 19U2 at Boiling Field, Washington, 
D.C. The Eighth Transport and Eighth Air 
Force Composite Command were planned but not 
yet activated. 

Problem one, naturally, was personnel. 
To meet this pressing need, an echelon con- 
sisting mostly of personnel officers was 
innovated at Boiling Field, Washington, D.C. 
in May 19^2. This echelon interviewed, 
selected and indoctrinated key staff officers, 
then moved them to the British Isles via Fort 
Dlx, Hew Jersey, where an Eighth Air Force 
echelon was located exclusively for processing 
personnel en route to the United Kingdom. As 
the personnel problem developed in scope Army 
Air Forces created its own embarkation echelon 
still at Fort Dix, to replace the Eighth. 

General Eaker and his staff applied 
themselves initially to meet three needs: 

(l) mounting a bomber offensive against 
German occupied Europe in conjunct- 
ion with the Royal Air Force, 



(2) initiating fighter operations in 
conjunction with the Royal Air 
Force, first in defense of the 
British Isles and later to escort 
daylight bombers, 

(3) logistical supporting of the forces 
required to meet the first two 
needs. 

Necessity was the basic principal which 
governed the meeting of these needs. With 
only limited resources available, the most 
essential commands were activated first, 
namely, Eighth Bomber Command; Eighth Base 
Command (later Eighth Air Force Service 
Command) ; and Eighth Interceptor Command 
(later Eighth Fighter Command). 

Under the impetus of the first two of 
these Commands, a minimum organization was 
framed in the United Kingdom controlling 
bomber operations and supply. Then, second- 
ary organizational problems were tackled 
relating to rendering operational fighter, 
training, and transport commands. 

On 22 May 19^2 the first Eighth Air 
Force combat unit arrived for operational 
training. Eighth Air Force was then ready 
to enter the second phase of its organizat- 
ional development. 



22 MAY 1942 



CHART No. I 



BOLL1NG 
FIELD 





SCHEMATIC 
ORGANIZATION of the EIGHTH 
AIR FORCE-os of 22 MAY 1942 



SHE A.F. 

BASE 
COMMAND 



-TRANSPORT 
(COMMAND 



i2m A.F. 

-i COMPOSITE 
j COMMAND 



f PLANNED 
} BUT NOT YET 
ACTIVATED 



2-A 



GROWING PAINS 



On 17 August 1942 twelve B-17s of the 97th 
Bomb Group departed from Polebrook Airfield in 
East Anglia, bound for Rouen, France, 200 miles 
away. There they aimed and dropped 17 tons on 
enemy runways and returned to their home base 
without loss. Successfully they had accompli- 
shed the first independent mission over German- 
occupied Europe by Eighth Air Force heavies. 

Rouen was a memorable and promising 
mission. Memorable, because it marked the 
Eighth's giant stride from a skeleton air force 
of four commands into an operational complex of 

six major commands, two of which Eighth 

Bomber and Eighth Air Force Service Commands— - 
were firmly established in adequate headquarters 
installations with at least the minimum person- 
nel and tools required to perform their mission. 
Promising, beoause it forecast the shadow of 
increased striking power in the months of 
expansion ahead. 

Comparison of Chart #2 with Chart #1 
reveals immediately the tremendous physical 
progress achieved by the Eighth since its es- 
tablishment on British soil three months 
previous. 

Eighth Interceptor Command had now been 
redesignated Eighth Fighter Command with 
permanent headquarters controlling elements of 
four fighter groups. Despite aircraft shortages 



due to transport difficulties, the temporary 
procurement of Spitfires from the cooperative 
Royal Air Force, which also furnished operation- 
al and maintenance training aids, contributed 
to development. 

Designed to work in close cooperation 
with invasion troops, Eighth Ground Air Support 
Command had now acquired limited headquarters 
personnel and one assigned group, the nucleus 
for an expanded medium bomber force later 
transferred wholesale to Ninth Air Force. 

Two new commands were added. Eighth Troop 
Carrier Command (Provisional) was organized to 
participate in the anticipated early invasion 
of Europe, while Eighth Air Foroe Composite 
Comnand, an outgrowth of the originally contem- 
plated Northern Ireland Command, was charged 
with receiving and training incoming tactical 
groups, encompassing responsibility for North- 
ern Ireland as well. The latter had only seven 
officers and four enlisted men at the time. 

The B-17s which hit Rouen hailed from the 
only heavy bombardment group in the theatre, 
which was assigned to the 1st Bombardment Wing. 
Now in anticipation of the arrival of new groups 
two heavy bombardment wing headquarters were 
established under Headquarters Eighth Bomber 
Command. It was intended at this time to make 
theso wings into complete operational and 



administrative headquarters with eventual 
control of up to fifteen heavy bombardment 
groups. 

That first Rouen mission was supplied by 
a patchwork pattern of temporary measures. 
Few service units had arrived during the two 
months in which the Eighth Air Force Service 
Ccmuaand had been functioning in the theatre. 
From the Royal Air Force had come practically 
all the non- technical supplies. Space had also 
been obtained at two Royal Air Force depots for 
storing and issuing United States Amy Air Force 
supplies, but ther9 wa3 much spade work to be 
done before fully functioning depots of the 
Eighth Air Force Service Command could be estab- 
lished. 

Thus Rouen demonstrated to General Eaker 
and his staff that there must be an accelerated 
follow-up. With all possible rapidity he and 
his staff conoentrated on three major problems: 

( 1 ) expans i on, 

(2) adequate provision for combat orew 
training in the United Kingdom, 

(3) organization of the flow of supplies 
from the ports and United Kingdom 
sources to Eighth Air Force units. 

Chart #3 reveals what they accomplished. 



17 AUGUST 1942 



CHART No. 2 




FIRST INDEPENDENT COMBAT 
MISSION 



3IIA.F. 
COMPOSITE 
COMMAND 



16 

BOMB GP. 
(L) 



I4TH.GR 

k d 





1 


I- 


2IHA.F. 
SERVICE 
COMMAND 








r AIR^ 
JJEPOT, 








r A.R^ 
DEPOT 



52ND.GR 



■ EIGHTH AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION 

■ NEW UNITS 



4-A 

asnrrfflffm 



THE FIRST IOOO 



Before Eighth Air Force could 1362111 
reducing the strength of the Luftwaffe it was 
called upon to help in the elimination of the 
U-t)oat menace during the period September 19U2 
to May 1'3^3- This campaign saw the bombing of 
the German submarine pens and U-boat production 
centers and concurrently the rapid expansion of 
Eighth Bomber Command. Four of the projected 
bombardment wings had now been established and 
three were operational. 

Meanwhile, the decision of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff to invade Africa diverted emphasis from 
the original invasion plans and simultaneously 
effected the structure of the Eighth. Eighth 
Air Support Command was left without a mission 
and, until taking over medium bombardment, its 
development was naturally slow. 

Eighth Air Force Composite Command suffered 
similarly from tactical and operational changes. 
Originally, substantial commitments of the 
Eighth to Northern Ireland had been reduced for 
two reasons: (l) the reduction in the enemy 
threat to Northern Ireland which eliminated 
earlier plans for stationing operational 
fighter groups there, and (2) the unsuitability 
of Northern Ireland as a training base for 
bomb groups. 

The Commanding General, Eighth Bomber 
Command, insisted on training establishments 
nearer to the tactical stations and the other 
major installations in England. As a result, 



a Combat Crew Replacement Center was established 
directly under Eighth Bomber Command; thus the 
Eighth Air Force Composite Command's training 
function was never fully realized. 

The U-boat campaign with its shorter 
Western France and North Sea targets enabled 
Royal Air Force Spitfires to provide escort 
for the bomb groups then operating. Hence 
Eighth Fighter Command, although retaining its 
original mission, developed less swiftly than 
Bomber Command. In order to mount a great 
striking force, heavy bombardment groups were 
given precedence over fighters in movement of 
tactical units to the theatre. Nevertheless 
the Eighth Fighter Command established two 
Wings with complete operational and adminis- 
trative headquarters. It possessed its own 
training unit and a gunnery and tow target 
flight, entirely separate from the Northern 
Ireland training command under the Eighth Air 
Force Composite Command. 

One of the main reasons why the Eighth was 
able to lend assistance to the reduction of 
tonnage sunk by U-boats — from 700,000 to 
100,000 per month by May I9I+3 — was because 
many of its major supply problems had been 
solved. Three advanced air depots established 
in southeast England had been integrated into 
an advanced service organization under Head- 
quarters Advanced Air Service (later Headquarter! 
Strategic Depot Area). The trickle of supplies 
nine months previous had now become a gusher of 



resources for tactical stations. By placing 
supply depot 8 within easy reach of tactical 
groups and by establishing intimate daily 
contact between them and fourth echelon supply 
and maintenance organizations, Eighth Air Force 
Service Command (formerly Headquarters Strategic 
Depot Area) made it possible for 1,000 heavy 
bombers to be airborne during the month of May 
I9U3, the first time in the history of the 
Eighth. 

During that May, a twelve-months campaign 
was launched against German aircraft industry 
and the Luftwaffe. However, there appeared 
problems while the campaign was continuing: 

(1) the need for an intermediate operat- 
ional control between the bomb wing 
and the bomb group, 

(2) the unsatisfactory system of operat- 
ing both heavy and medium bomb groups 
under a single command, 

(3) the need for further organization of 
supply channels and responsibility 
between the base and advanced supply 
organizations, 

(U) the unsatisfactory development of 
Eighth Air Force Composite Command 
and Eighth Air Support Command in the 
light of the changed tactical 

situation. 



10 MAY 1943 



*>CHART No.3 





ORGANIZATION of the EIGHTH 
AIR FORCE DURING THE FIRST 
MONTH IN WHICH A TOTAL OF 
UOOO BOMBERS WERE DISPATCHED 
AGAINST GERMAN OCCUPIED 
EUROPE. 



[ 30S GP.l 



2 BOMB 
WING 



| 44GP. | 
E 93GP. 1 



3 BOMB 

WING 
- (M) 



4 BOMB 
WING 



EIGHTH AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION 
NEW UNITS 



SET-UP 



Flexibility was the keynote of Eighth Air 
Force organization. General Eaker and his 
staff built without precedent; similarly, they 
could break it when the occasion demanded. 
With "the first 1,000" in their grasp they 
paused to examine the complex organization of 
the basic unit. 

Army Air Force Regulation 65-1, 14 August 
1942, decreed complete separation of the ser- 
vice and tactical units and their functions. 
Tactical units were to be located on dispersed 
airdromes and receive third echelon supply and 
maintenance from a Service Centre. This Ser- 
vice Centre, manned by a Service group and 
associated units operating under the command 
of Air Force Service Command, was to be located 
on its own airdrome adjacent to the tactical 
airdromes it would serve. 

This form of organization was considered 
impracticable for air force operations in the 



United Kingdom. First, because of labor, 
materials, and land space shortages in the 
United Kingdom, the number of airdromes that 
could be constructed within a reasonable length 
of time was insufficient to provido separate 
establishments for service and tactical units. 
Second, since it was necessary to establish 
service and tactical units on the same station 
it was essential that all units on the station 
should be under one commander - the tactical 
commander. 

Upon arrival in the United Kingdom a 
service group consisting of an Headquarters 
and Headquarter Squadron Service Group and two 
Service Squadrons were divided into two parts, 
equal, insofar as possible, in personnel and 
equipment. One -ha If of the Headquarters and 
Headquarter Squadron Service Group and one of 
the Service Squadrons were assigned to a 
tactical station to support a full bombardment 
or fighter group. The other half and its 



accompanying Service Squadron were assigned to 
another group. 

Within reasonable limits, the station 
commander was free to prescribe his own 
functional organization because all the 
required service units were not always avail- 
able for a standard one. Consequently varia- 
tions in the line organizations of different 
stations were inevitable. Chart #3 (a) 
expresses in theory the organization of a 
typical Air Force station at the time Eighth 
mounted its first 1,000 bomber assault. 

The flexibility which existed in its 
highest echelon permeated down to Eighth's 
basic units. Upon arrival ir. the theatre, 
commanders and personnel were quick to adjust 
themselves to this n6w plan. No major diffi- 
culties were experienced at any time and it 
continued as a standard of station organiza- 
tion until the day Germany capitulated. 



7-A 



10, MAY 1943 



LINE ORGANIZATION 



CHART N9 3A 




^ 



BOMB 
SQ. 



COMMANDING 
OFFICER 




BOMB 
SQ. 



BOMB 
SQ. 



STATION 
COMP SQ. 



WEATHER 
DET 



© 



BOMB 
SQ. 



SERVICE 
SQ. 



/2CHEM.CQ 
AIR OPNS 



1 



1/2 ORD. CQ 
SERV GP 



ORDNANCE 
MM. CO. 



© 



l/2HQaHQ.SQ. 

SERVICE 

GROUP 



1/2 QM. CO. 
SERV GP 



1/2 SIG. CO. 
SERV GP 



MP. CO. 
AVN. 



OR FIGHTER 

PROJECTED ONLY- NOT ASSIGNED UNTIL AUGUST, 1943. 

LATER REPLACED ON BOMBER STATIONS ONLY BY SUB-DEPOT 

LATER COMBINED TO FORM ORDNANCE S 8 M COMPANIES OF 

WHICH ONE WAS ASSIGNED TO EACH TACTICAL STATION AS AVAILABLE 



TYPICAL U. S. AIRDROME 
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM 



STATION ORGANIZATION 

(TYPICAL) 

SHOWING COMMAND AND 

LINE ORGANIZATION IN 

THE SPRING OF 1943 



AIR EXECUTIVE 



S-2 



COMBAT 
INTELL. 



maps a 

EQUIP 



m 



i 



OMMANDING OFFICER 



[admin. insp| \tech. insp| [adjutant] 



[ground 



rivEJ 



- |B0MBA3DIERJ 



ASST. S-3 
(TRAINING) 

=1 



LINK 
TRAINER 



SQ CO. (TYPICAL) 



FLT 
'A' 



[adj] [sup] [arm] |engJ 



FLT 
'B' 



FLT. 
'C' 



ASST S-3 
(A DM IN J 



FLYING 
CONTROL 



COMMUNI- 
CATIONS 



WEATHER 



S-4 



PERSONNEL 
RECORDS 



GROUP 
ARM. 



GROUP 
ENG. 



SERVICE 
SQ. CO. 



CML ORDNANCt 



SPECIAL 
SERVICE 



BOMB 
SIGHT 
MAINT 



TURRET 
MAINT 



SERVICE 
~\ SQ. 
ENG 



GAS 
DEF 



TECH 
SUPPLY 



AMMUN 
ITION 



GEN. 
SUPPLY 



AUTO- 
MOTIVE 



_| SUB- 
SIST- 
ENCE 



QM. 
SERV 



|CHAPLAIN | [SURGEON [fiNANCe] [mESsI IpROVOST 

1 ' ' ' ' ' ' ' MARSHAL 



DEFENSE UTILITIES 



FUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION 
BOMBARDMENT GROUP 8 ATTACHED SERVICE UNITS. 



CAMOUFLAGE 



FIRE 
MARSHAL 



ft-A. 



NTERNAL STREAMLINING 



Allied landings in North Africa and the 
subsequent rout of Rommel's forces paved the 
way for invasion of Sicily and Italy. Mean- 
while in the European Theatre of Operations, 
Eighth Air Force in conjunction with the Royal 
Air Force, was establishing supremacy over the 
Luftwaffe. 

During this period the relation of Air 
Force Headquarters to the Theatre Headquarters 
remained unchanged as did the designation of 
Eighth's major subordinate commands. However, 
three significant internal changes did take 
place: 

(1) Eighth Bomber Command was relieved 
of its medium "bombardment wing and 
subsidiary medium groups, thus be- 
coming exclusively a heavy bombard- 
ment command, 

(2) addition of a reconnaissance group 
and an anti-submarine group under 
direct control of air force head- 
quarters, 

(3) establishment of base and advance 
service areas, each area having its 
own headquarters under Eighth Air 
Force Service Command. 

The postponement of the European invasion 
and the shift in emphasis to Italy negated the 
original mission of Eighth Air Support Command, 
i.e., furnishing clo6e cooperation for ground 
operations. For the first time since its 
establishment in the United Kingdom late in 
July I9U2, Eighth Air Service Command acquired, 
with assumption of medium bombardment respon- 
sibility, an important operational and admin- 
istrative mission. Receipt of the 3rd Bombard- 
ment Wing (Medium) , transferred intact from 
Eighth Bomber Command also gave Air Service 
Command an experienced intermediate headquarters 



between the Command and the groups and allowed 
medium bomber operations to proceed without 
serious interruption. 

The U-boat and Luftwaffe campaigns had 
created the need for two highly specialized 
groups - Anti-Submarine and Reconnaissance - 
both of which were added during this period. 
When expansion in Royal Air Force Coastal 
Command was sufficient to cope with the 
submarine menace, the Anti-Submarine Group 
was transferred, but Reconnaissance grew in 
importance. 

Supply, too, underwent marked expansion. 
Eighth Air Force Service Command realized the 
need for decentralization and established a 
headquarters for its base depots in addition 
to opening a fourth advanced depot under 
Headquarters Advanced Air Service (redesignated 
Headquarters Strategic Air Depot Area). 
Coincident with these changes, Headquarters 
Base Air Depot Area was delegated broad 
responsibility for the supervision of activities 
in both Base and Strategic Air Depot Areas. 
Eighth Air Force Service Command could then 
confine itself more and more to the establish- 
ment of overall plans and procedures. 

Implementation of Eighth Air Force 
Composite Command's training mission lagged, 
mainly because it was found possible to train 
bomber crews in the tactical areas under close 
supervision of Eighth Bomber Command. Eighth 
Air Force Composite Command established one 
combat crew replacement center where it trained 
fighter pilots. This training center was 
shared with the gunnery school of Eighth 
Fighter Command, which was rapidly expanding. 

Several fighter groups were rushed into 
the theater when unescorted bombers began to 
feel interception attacks of the Luftwaffe. 
Although the basic organization of Eighth 



Fighter Command was unchanged, its organizat- 
ional framework filled rapidly. 

The accelerated tempo of the air war over 
Europe caused by the invasion of Italy on 3 
September 19>+3 found the basic organization of 
the Eighth Air Force virtually complete. Yet 
several major organizational problems remained: 

(1) the number of heavy bombardment 
groups assigned to the wings was 
too large for adequate operational 
control by one headquarters, whereas 
a single headquarters was adequate 
for the administration of these 
groups; 

(2) an increasing need was being felt for 
a reconnaissance headquarters. Need 
not only to coordinate the reconnaiss- 
ance operations of the photographic 
group, but also to enable the Air 
Force to print, interpret and distri- 
bute the vast amount of target and 
other operational photographs required 
by the air forces as well as theater 
headquarters. At this stage the work 
was being done largely by British 
agencies. Not only did the increas- 
ing volume strain the British 
facilities, but lack of facilities 
and personnel to do this specialized 
job within Eighth was considered a 
serious shortcoming to its self- 
sufficiency; 

(3) establishment of the 9th, 12th and 
15th Air Forces in Africa and Italy 
within bombing range of Fortress 
Europe created the need for coordin- 
ated operational control of these 
air forces with that of the Eighth. 

Chart #5 shows how these problems were met. 




5 SEPTEMBER 1943 



WAR 
DEPARTMENT 



ORGANIZATION of the EIGHTH 

AIR FORCE AT TIME OF THE 

INVASION OF ITALY 



[384 G(f 



GROUND 
FORCES 



r- A.A.F. 



E.T.O. J 



CHART No 4 



Eighth 
air 

FORCE 



S. 0. s. 



mil 
FIGHTER 
COMMAND 



| guhnert school] 



66 TH 

FIGHTER 

WING 



^352 GP. j 

f 353 GP- J 



65 TH^ 

FIGHTER 

WING . 



E 566R 1 



TTnT A.F 

SERVICE 
COMMAND 



AIR DEPOT 



STRATEGIC 

■AIR DEPOT 

AREA 



VIII 
JR SUPPORT 
COMMAND 



3RD 
BOMB 
WING 



I 386 GP 3 

fc 8 j 6P 3 
f 323 GPJ 



315 TROOP 
CARRIER 
GROUP 



"PTTT A.F. 

COMPOSITE 
COMMAND 



r CO*BAT CREI^ 
REPLACEMENT 
RENTER J 



EIGHTH AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION 
NEW UNITS 



'Q-a 



TUNING UP FOR INVASION 



The pendulum of invasion was swinging from 
Italy back to Northwestern Europe where air 
power was in the process of softening-up the 
enemy. The Eighth and the Royal Air Force, 
operating from the United Kingdom, were being 
augment ed. 

To meet the need for single operational 
control of the strategic Eighth and Fifteenth 
and to coordinate inter- air force problems, 
United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe 
was established on 6 January 19^4 under General 
Spaatz. This came one week after General 
Eisenhower was named Supreme Commander of the 
European Theater of Operations and Lieutenant 
General (then Major General) James H. Doolittle 
succeeded General Eaker as Commander of the 
Eighth. General Eaker moved to Africa to 
become Commander of the Mediterranean Allied 
Air Forces. 

Concurrently the Ninth Air Force was moved 
from the Mediterranean to the European Theater 
of Operations and took form as the "invasion" 
air force while United States Strategic Air 
Forces in Europe under Headquarters European 
Theater of Operations exercised operational 
control over the Eighth and Fifteenth Air 
Forces and administrative control of all 
United States Air Force Commands in the United 
Kingdom. 



These moves produced significant changes 
in the Eighth. The formation of United States 
Strategic Air Forces in Europe utilized a 
large proportion of the personnel from this 
Headquarters, as did transfer of Eighth Air 
Support Command and Headquarters Eighth Air 
Service Command to the Strategic Air Depot Area. 
The latter was redesignated Headquarters Air 
Service Command, United States Strategic Air 
Forces in Europe, and its control of the Base 
Air Depot Area remained basically unchanged. 

Headquarters Eighth Air Force moved to the 
installation of Headquarters Eighth Bomber 
Command, absorbing the personnel and functions 
of that inactivated headquarters. This elevated 
the bombardment divisions formerly under Eighth 
Bomber Command to major subordinate commands 
operating directly under the Air Force Head- 
quarters. 

Subsequently, Strategic Air Depot Area 
became Headquarters Eighth Air Force Service 
Command without changing its basic organization 
and mission. However, its personnel and 
facilities were progressively enhanced to meet 
increased supply and maintenance requirements 
stemming from an expanding air force. 

To make Eighth self-sufficient from a 
reconnaissance standpoint, the 8th Reconnaiss- 



ance Wing (Provisional) was organized on IS 
February I9V5, supervising the operations of 
the photographic group already assigned (see 
Chart #4). This new organization could print, 
interpret and distribute the vastly increased 
number of target and other operational photo- 
graphs required. 

To bolster the function of Eighth Air 
Force Composite Command, it received control 
of all theater training of Eighth Air Force 
units. Whereupon, the Command Headquarters 
moved from Northern Ireland to the Eighth's 
area in England. All training units assigned 
to the bomber and fighter commands were re- 
assigned to Eighth Air Force Composite Command 
as well as certain miscellaneous tactical 
groups such as Eighth Fighter Command's gunnery 
and tow target flights. 

The flow of fighter groups to this 
theater continued during this "tuning up for 
invasion" period. Escort range increased as 
Eighth's fighters added auxiliary gas tanks. 
The climax came in the last week of February 
194U when the combined impact of the Eighth 
and Fifteenth, striking together at the 
industrial vitals of Germany's aircraft 
industry, damaged severely the Luftwaffe 
source of aircraft supply. 

All was then in readiness for Invasion. 



A'-v^ 



6 MARCH 1944 



CHART N° 5 




ORGANIZATION of the EIGHTH 

AIR FORCE AFTER FORMATION 

OF U.S.S.T.A.F. IN PREPARATION FOR 

CONTINENTAL INVASION 



1ST 

BOMB 

DIVISION 



-| 



TST^d 

iOMBAT 
1MB WINJ 



E. T.O. 



GROUND 
FORCES 



U.S.S.T.A.F. 



S.O.S. 



NINTH 

AIR 
FORCE 



EIGHTH 

AIR 
FORCE 



15 TH 

AIR 

I FORCE 1 



2 NO 

BOMB 

DIVISION 




r 2ND"^ 
.COMBAT 
[pMBWINj 



I 

^483 GPJ| 



^46 GP^| 
^48 GP^| 




3rd 
BOMB 

DIVISION 



4TH 
COMBAT 
jOMBWING^ 



3TH 
COMBAT 

1MB WlNfr 




T7TTT 

FIGHTER 
JOMMAND 



^47 gp a 



B82GP 1 



65 TH 

IGHTER 

WING 



66TH 

FIGHTER 

WING 



WT A F 

SERVICE 
COMMAND 



1ST 



2 NO 

STRATEGIC 
AIR DEPOT 



u 3RD 
STRATEGIC 
MR DEPOT 



L 4TH 
STRATEGIC 
AIR DEPOT 



r^ a 



L4EJ 



3znr a.f. 

IOMPOSITE 

;ommand 



1ST 



r 3RD ^ 

C.C.R.C. 
L GROUPS 



' 4TH "^ 

C.C.R.C. 

.GROUP^ 



'482 ND" 
BOMB 
GROUP 



596 FTR^ 1 



67TH 

FIGHTER 

WING 



[ 20 



rSTHRCNl 
WING(PROV$ 
B 86 CCRC'sj 



EIGHTH AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION 
NEW UNITS 



INVASION AND VICTORY 



"If you S8e any planes they will be ours," 
General Eisenhower told his invading forces. 
This was the tribute he paid to the effective- 
ness of the Eighth Air Force and Royal Air 
Force against the Luftwaffe. Guarded by a 
phalanx of fighters while bombing neutralized 
enemy defenses, Allied invading forces seized' 
toe-holds on the beaches, linked up their 
bridgeheads and eventually ovor-ran Northern 
France. 

Its soft9ning-up and invasion tasks comr 
pleted. Eighth Air Force could then concentrate 
wholly on its Casablanca directive, "the 
progressive destruction and dislocation of the 
German military, industrial, and economic 
system to a point where the capacity for armed 
resistance was fatally weakened". 

While this job was being accomplished, 
substantial organization changes took place, 
some the result of invasion, others calculated 
to inject more flexibility into the operational 
set-up. 

The bomb divisions then became in effect 
"little air forces," each with assigned control 
over a fighter wing. To complete the organi- 
zation, each bomb division reoeived the sub- 
depots and strategic air depots servicing it 
and became an Air Division complete with bombers, 
fighters and services. This anticipated future 
transfer of Air Divisions intact to other 
theatres if necessary. It also increased the 
versatility of the Eighth Air Force, preparing 
it for the numerous changes that the tactical 
situation would present. 

As in the transfer of the medium bombers 
to the Eighth Air Support Command (see Chart #4) 



complete units in the form of fighter wings 
were transferred to the Bomb Divisions. Each 
wing comprised five fighter groups together 
with the administrative and operational head- 
quarters. In this way operations could continue 
with a minimum* of disruption. Operationally the 
fighter wings remained on a level with the 
combat bombardment wings already operating 
under the bomb divisions. But administratively 
the fighter wing paralleled the bombardment 
group, since the combat bombardment wings had 
no administrative function. While this inter- 
posed an intermediate headquarters between 
fighter groups and air divisions in contrast 
to the direct channels of the bomber organi- 
zation, the air divisions benefitted by the 
previous experience of the fighter wing in 
supplying and administering the fighter groups. 

Following the fighter transfer, attention 
was focussed on Eighth Air Force Composite 
Command, whose training function, never fully 
realized, was then even less needed. All the 
combat groups scheduled for the European Theatre 
of Operations had at that time arrived and 
training activities, which the air divisions 
were in a position to handle, involved only 
replacement crews. Moreover, a need existed 
for a oomsiand to supervise training for dis- - 
armament of the Luftwaffe after Victory in 
Europe Day. For these reasons United States 
Strategic Air Forces in Europe requested the 
release of Composite Command and four of its 
Combat Crew Replacement Centre training groups. 
Upon completion of the release, the Eighth 
Fighter Command (moved later to the Continent) 
absorbed the miscellaneous responsibilities of 
Composite Command. 

In August 1944, Eighth Reconnaissance 



Wing (Provisional) was reorganized into 325th 
Photographic Wing Reconnaissance. In addition 
to its varied duties of photographic reconnais- 
sance and the printing, interpretation, and 
distribution of target and operational photo- 
graphs, the wing assumed responsibility for the 
802nd Bombardment Group (Special) Provisional, 
This group performed special light and heavy 
weather reconnaissance. From time to time the 
325th undertook special assignments for the 
ground forces in Europe before and after the 
invasion and consequently underwent regulari- 
zation and amplification as the need arose. 

After the liberation of most of Franco it 
became possible to recover and return to the 
United Kingdom or salvage large numbers of 
Eighth Air Force aircraft. Previously, when 
required to land on the Continent, these air- 
craft had been written off. Establishment by 
Eighth Air Force Service Command of a Contin- 
ental echelon made possible proper supervision 
of their salvage and return. The echelon began 
work in August 1944, consisting at first of 
mobile reclamation and repair squadrons and 
personnel on temporary duty, then eventually 
expanding into Eighth Air Force Service Command 
Centre. Later this became Headquarters Eighth 
Air Force Service Command (Advance) and the 
Fifth Strategic Air" Depot. 

With this organization Eighth Air Foroe 
flew the record mission of 24 December 1944 
when over 2,000 bombers were dispatched accom- 
panied by over 900 fighters. With this organi- 
zation Eighth Air Force helped to destroy the 
German oil industry, the Luftwaffe, and played 
a major part in the victorious advance of our 
armies across Germany ending in final capitu- 
lation and Victory in Europe Day. 



13-A 



I OCTOBER 1944 



war department) CHART N° 6 



HHQ. AAFI 
I i — -r- — J 



E.TO. 



NORTH 




GROUNO 

FORCES 






S.QS. 



2nd. 

BOMB 

DIVISION 



Tnd 
■ COMBAT 
i OMB WING 



^45 B. GP 

J89B GP 

r I 
f 53 B GP 



comSat 

90MB WING 



i92 a gp I 

1 1 • 



491 B. GP | 



I 20TH 
-ICOMBAT 
80MB WING 



446 a GP I 

93 B. GP 

I 
448 B. GP 

I 
ft89 B GP. | 



96 th. 
OMBAT 

1MB WING 



^66 a GP | 

458 B. GP I 

' I 

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aniAF 

SERVICE 
COMMAND 




'STRATEGIC 
AIR DEPOT 



RATEGIC 
DEPOT 



ORGANIZATION 

OF THE 

EIGHTH AIR FORCE 

EOUR MONTHS AFTER 

INVASION of CONTINENT 



EIGHTH AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION 
NEW UNITS 



APPENDIX B 

MAJOR MODIFICATIONS 

TO AIRCRAFT AND 

EQUIPMENT 



CHANGE FOR THE BETTER 



No matter how perfect the combat plane is when it rolls off the assembly line, its 
manufacturers cannot possibly anticipate all the requirements of combat. As the need 
arises modifications must be made. 

Following is a tabular summary of the significant modifications of tactical im- 
portance made in aircraft arriving in this theater or as requested by the Eighth Air 
Force. 

These modifications are considered in the light of combat requirements, and how 
these were met after the modifications were installed. Did they increase the performance 
and striking power of the aircraft? Did they add to its safety as well as to that of its 
flying personnel? 

Modifications affecting armament, performance, safety, navigation, bombing devices, 
armor, communications and signals, and personnel equipment are considered in this table. 



I-B 



BOMBER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



Modification 



Date 
Accompli she d 



Reason for Modification 



Remarks 



B-17 



B-17 



ARMAMENT 

Twin .50 calit>re nose gun installa- 
tions mounted in center of nose com- 
partment over bombsight 



Twin guns superceded by single gun 
mount 



January - 
March I9U3 



March - 
April I9U3 



The only available forward fire power 
came from the top and "ball turrets. 
The Luftwaffe made successful head-on 
attacks "by exoloiting the vulnerabil- 
ity of this blind spot 



To increase azimuth travel and 
facilitate handling of gun 



Both installations were mounted 
locally in the European Theater 
of Operations pending arrival of 
aircraft equipped with chin tur- 
rets, which were effective in 
discouraging head-on attacks 



B-17 



B-17 



Waist gun relocated to a position 
nearly level with fuselage 



Capacity of waist gun ammunition 
cans increased to 600 rounds 



February 
I9U3 



February 
I9U3 



The production mounts of the waist 
guns were located approximately 6 
inches inside the skin line of the 
fuselage. This greatly reduced the 
field of fire due to the limited 
size of the open waist window 

Former capacity only 200 rounds 



The modification, which was carr- 
ied out in the European Theater of 
Operations, allowed a greater azi- 
muth swing and greater downward 
deflection of the waist guns 



Both this and previous modifica- 
tion incorporated in production 
aircraft 



B-17 



N-g optical gunsight installed in 
tail position 



July - Requested during Spring of I9U3 to 

August I9U3 increase effectiveness of tail 

position 



Incorporated in production air- 
craft and proved very satisfactory 
in conjunction with 90-degree cone 
of tail gun fire 



B-17 



Metal tail enclosure modified to 
give 90-degree cone of fire 



August 
19^ 



Azimuth movement of the tail guns 
was restricted. As a result, the 
frequency of enemy tail attacks 
increased 



Increased field of fire was effec- 
tive in warding off freouent tail 
attacks 



B-17 



Sperry K-13 sights replaced the 
"iron" sights 



September By that time, waist guns only guns 

19^ on B-17 having mechanical wing and 

bead type sights 



Sufficient Sperry K-13 sights were 
received from the United States to 
equip combat aircraft 



B-17 



Proposed removal of both chin 
and ball turrets 



April 
19^5 



Infrequency of enemy fighter opposi- 
tion plus subsequent increase in 
range, altitude, and performance 



Proposed by some bombardment groups 
but war ended before proposal could 
be thoroughly considered 



2-B 



BOMBER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



B-2U 



B-2U 



Modification 



Twin .50 calibre nose gun mounted 
over bomb sight 



Consolidated and Motor Products 
nose turret superceded twin .50 
cal ibre nose gun 



Date 
Accomplished 



Early 19U3 



November 
19^3 



Reason for Modification 



Need for frontal fire power as well 
as mid-ship and downward fire pro- 
tection 

To add frontal tirotection 



Remarks 



Twin nose gun installed in European 
Theater of Operations prior to entry 
into combat 

Installation effective until arrival 
of Consolidated and Motor Products 
nose turret, which gave good frontal 
fire power but materially affected 
flight characteristics 



B-2U 



B-2U 



Experimental tunnel gun installa- 
tions added to some B-24-s 



Retractable ball turret installed 
in production aircraft 



January - 
March I9U3 



Tall 19^3 



To add downward fire power 



Installation made in many B-2Us, but 
not universally adopted pending pro- 
duction installation of retractable 
ball turret 



B-2U 



Waist gun position relocated 
nearer to fuselage 



Tall I9U3 



To increase azimuth of fire 



Waist guns were the only guns remain- 
ing manually operated 



B-2U 



Ball turrets removed in some B-2^s 



June 19^U Due to lack of enemy attacks from 

field of fire covered by ball 
turret guns 



Increased performance 



B-2k It was planned to install both K-lU 

and K-g computing gunsights in tail 
turret of 3-2^6 in the European 
Theater of Operations 



Aoril 
19^5 



Interim measure pending arrival of 
production K-15 gyro- stabilized 
sights 



War ended before this plan' could be 
imnlemented 



RAN&E 

B-17 Installation of Tokyo Tanks (series 

& of nine auxiliary tanks built in- 

B-2V ternally into wing tips) 



November 
I9U3 



Bombers could not accomplish long 
range missions profitably due to in- 
adequate fuel capacity. Bomb bay 
tanks had been carried, but these 
reduced the bomb load 



The Tokyo Tanks increased fuel capacity 
and enabled the bombers to cover nearly 
all enemy territory then held 



3-B 



BOMBER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



B-17 



Modification 



SAFETY 

The life-raft release handle was 
placed outside the fuselage instead 
of in the radio compartment. This 
modification was made on all service 
and production aircraft 



Date 
Accomplished 



Reason for Modification 



December Many crews were lost due to the air- 

19^3 craft sinking before the life-rafts 

could he released. Also, in order 
to release the rafts from the radio 
compartment one or two men were re- 
quired to remain in the aircraft 
after it was ditched 



Remarks 



This modification enahled any crew 
member to release the life-rafts 
from outside of the aircraft. This 
saved lives 



B-2H Bomb-bays were cleared of miscell- 

aneous equipment; canvas ditching 
ribs were installed to assist crew 
members in tracing upon ditching. 
Above this ditching station an aux- 
iliary escape hatch was installed. 
Exclusive European Theater of Opera- 
tions modifications were performed 
to increase egress 



January The B-21+ bomb-bay construction was 

19^ unsatisfactory for ditching. Less 

time was available after a water 
landing than in the case of the B-17 



Added to crew 1 s safety 



B-2^ Life-raft enlarged in the European January 

Theater of Operations and later I9M+ 

adopted in uroduction 



Life-raft compartment in production 
aircraft was too small to accommo- 
date air/sea rescue equipment re- 
quired in this Theater 



Added to crew's safety 



B-2k 



A thermal de-icing system superceded 
the rubber-boot system 



Sarly 
19UU 



To improve de-icing system and to 
reduce maintenance required 



Hot exhaust gasses from engine 
nacelle area were ducted to all 
portions of the wing and tail 
assembly, proving very effective 



B-17 

& 
B-21+ 



Outer wing panels were vented to ex- September 

haust the explosive vapors I9I+I+ 



To prevent wing fires caused by the 
accumulation of combustible gasoline 
vapors 



First developed by Fifteenth Air . 
Force - later adopted by the 
Eighth Air Force, then put into 
production 



B-17 

& 
B-2U 



Attempts were made to purge fuel 
tank fires with inert gas 



During 
19^3 



To prevent fires 



4-B 



BOMBER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



Modification 



Date 
Accomplished 



Reason for Modification 



Remarks 



B-17 Carbon dioxide-nitrogen or methyl 

& bromide was used for extinguishing 

B-2U bomb-bay, wing, and Tokyo Tank fires 

B-17 Development of an exhaust gas-purging 

& kit for extinguishing fires in wing 

B-2U tanks 



April 
19^5 



April 
I9I+5 



To prevent fires 



To lighten weight of aircraft and 
ease installation of gas-nurging 
kit 



Prototype sent to Zone of Interior 
resulted in 30 kits being service 
tested 

Kit developed in the United States 
- a limited number of these kits 
to be tested in the United Kingdom 
in conjunction with nitrogen- 
purging prototype 



B-17 The Eighth Air Force requested 

& investigation by Zone of Interior of 

B-2U a larger carbon dioxide cylinder and 

more dispersion on engine fire ex- 
tinguisher 



April 
I9U5 



Existing A-12 Engine Nacelle fire 
extinguisher proved ineffective. 
The capacity of carbon dioxide 
cylinder and the area covered by 
the dispersion ring were inadequate 
for combating engine fires in flight 



War ended before the request could 
be carried out 



B0M3INS 

B-17 All-electric bomb release system re- 

placed the manual lever. Also the 
A-1+ release replaced the A-2 manual 
release. Both modifications made in 
production 



Spring The manual salvo release handle 

I9UU proved unsatisfactory in operation 

at high altitudes due to the necess- 
ity of frequent cable inspection 
and adjustments 



Modification satisfactory - reduced 
total weight of the release system 



B-17 

& 
B-2U 



The following navigation and overcast 
bombing aids were installed: 

a) H2X 

b) G-ee-H 

c) Micro-H 



An explanation of these aids can 
be found in Chapter III under 
"Overcast Bombing" 



ARMOR 

B-17 1^ millimeter armor plate installed 

& in various sections of the aircraft 

B-2U such as the instrument panel, navigator- 

bombardier' s floor, pilot's compartment 
and waist positions 



19^3 



To reduce casualties resulting from 
spent flak fragments penetrating 
the aircraft 



Better protection afforded; 
casualties reduced 



5-B 



BOMBER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



Modification 



B-17 Development of a light "flak suit" 

& to be worn by all crew members in 

B-2U. conjunction with a lightweight 

flak-helmet 



Date 
Accomplished 



February 
19^3 



Reason for Modification 



To protect crew members from flak 
wounds 



Remarks 



Suits were made of hard steel 
strips covered in a flexible 
canvas apron, sporan and back 



B-17 

& 
B-2k 



Flak curtains introduced as a sub- 
stitute for armor plate 



Late I9U3 
& Early I9M 



To reduce the weight of aircraft 



Flak curtains were hung in strat- 
egic areas of the aircraft and 
depended upon absorption of impact 
of the flak by the elasticity of 
the curtains 



B-17 



Service testing of 12 B-17s with 
heavily armored engines 



19M+ 



To protect engines from enemy fire 



Unsuitable for operations because 
of reduced speed 



PERSONAL EQUIPMENT 

B-17 Introduction of a low pressure 

& oxygen system which supplied oxygen 

B-2U to the mask only when the wearer 

inhaled 



19^3 



To conserve oxygen, and prevent ex- 
plosions and fires to which high 
pressure bottles were subject 



Reduced oxygen consumption, and 
made system less vulnerable to 
attack 



B-17 The radio compartment hatch was 

& closed over and the gun mounted in 

3-2U the plexiglass of the hatch. Sub- 

sequently closed waist windows were 
procured and the waist guns mounted 
in the plexiglass 



I9U2-I9U3 To reduce the number of frost bite 

cases caused by the passage of 
drafts of cold air through the fuse- 
lage from the open radio hatch. and 
waist windows 



Frost bite casualties effectively 
reduced without reducing fire 
power 



SIGNALS MP CQMMUN I CATIONS 

B-17 One command transmitter of SCR-2I+7N 

& radio set was modified to limit R/T 

B-2U range to 10 miles for use in "Darky" 

system 



Fall 19U2 



To aid lost aircraft in obtaining a 
more accurate fix 



Later became a theater modifica- 
tion - technical bulletin covering 
it issued in February I9U3 



6-B 



BOMBER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



Modification 



Date 
Accomplished 



Reason for Modification 



Remarks 



B-17 



B-17 

& 



British Standard Beam Approach equip- 
ment 



SCS-51 improved on Standard Beam 
Approach by giving additionalgliding 
angle 



Fall I9U2 To aid approach in conditions app- 

roaching zero visibility and low 
ceiling 

July 19^4 To aid controlled approach during 

extremely poor weather conditions 



Met needs until improved equipment 
arrived from the United States 



This equipment easily procured be- 
cause it was designed and produced 
in the United States 



B-17 Liaison radio equipment modified to January 

& allow tuning in of medium frequencies 19^3 

B-2U on a fixed antenna in 30 seconds 



Heretofore, bombers had to unreel 
a wire antenna in trailing fashion 
in order to tune in distress 
signals. It took too long to give 
an SOS 



Later became a theater modifica- 
tion and aided in rescue of bomb- 
ers in distress 



B-17 A11 bomber aircraft equipped with 

& chaff -dispensing jammers; and special 

B-2U shutes installed to discharge this 

chaff or "window" 



Fall I9U3 



To provide protection against enemy 
gun-laying radar 



Shutes installed as a theater 
modification 



B-17 A H aircraft except Pathfinder Force 

& were equipped with two electronic 

B-21+ jammers each and twelve aircraft of 

each group equipped with spot- jammers; 
later all aircraft except Pathfinder 
Force and spot- jammers equipped with 
triple "carpet" installations 



Spring & To provide protection against gun- 

Fall 19^ laying radar by the enemy; to 

counter subsequent spreading of the 
enemy' s gun-laying radar band in 
order to be able to jam effectively 



Latter program of triple "carpet" 
installations not cocroleted due 
to supply difficulties 



B-17 Small number of bombers equipped with 

& an additional "Y" receiver and kits 

B-2U to cover frequencies used by the 

enemy R/T 



April 
I9IA 



To increase the range of Ground "Y" 
by adding airborne "ears". To extend 
range of cover of enemy R/T traffic 



All installations made by the bomb 
groups concerned. Airborne "Y H 
proved very effective in covering 
the Luftwaffe's movements 



B-2U 



B-17 



Marker Beacon radio bomb release 
installed as additional equipment 
for 2nd Air Division B-2^s only 



Crawfish radio bomb release installed 
in 3rd Division bombers 



Began in 
March I9M+ 



Fall 1<M 



To enable all bombs in a formation 
to drop simultaneously with the 
leader's, and thus obtain a more 
compact pattern 

To add more frequencies for radio 
bomb release and eliminate inter- 
ference 



Only two bombardment wings fully 
equipped because an improved 
system was being developed in 
the United States 

Designed and developed in the 
United States. War ended before 
entire air force could be equipped 



7-B 



FIGHTER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



P-l+7 

P-3S 
P-51 



Modification 



ARMAMENT 

Introduction of the K-lk gyro gun 
sight 



Date 
Accomplished 



Late I9V3 & 
Early 19&+ 



Season for Modification 



To increase accuracy of gun fire 



E emark s 



Adapted from the British Mark II 
gyro sight as used in bomber 
turret positions. The K-lU proved 
to he the most accurate sight in- 
stalled in European Theater of 
Operations fighters 



BCMBING 

P-38 The nose armament of some P-3S8 was 

removed and a plexiglass nose in- 
stalled which allowed the carriage 
of a bombardier and bombsight in 
the nose position 



Early I9V+ To equip a number of fighter- 

bombers with bombsights for attack- 
ing strategic German targets 



These P-38s became known as "Droop 
Snoots". They were used as lead 
airplanes for a formation of stand- 
ard P-3Ss carrying bombs. This 
afforded a fast, high-flying forma- 
tion of fighter planes carrying an 
unusually high bomb load for fight- 
er aircraft. After the attack a 
formation of this type was able to 
act as its own fighter protection 



P-U7 
P-51 



P-i+7 



SAFETY 

A modification in structure was to 
"blow" the canopy on either side 
of the pilot 

later both F-kj and P-51s were 
equipped with production versions 
of "bubble" canopies 



March I9U3 To increase both rearward and 

sideward vision necessary in taxi- 
ing and combat 



Later production versions gave the 
pilot an unobstructed 360-degree 
vision 



P-l+7 
P-51 



Introduction and use of electrically 
heated gloves and spats 



19^3 



To prevent frostbite caused by 
inadequate heating of fighter 
cockpits 



A successful temporary measure. 
Later the installation of cockpit 
heating systems obviated this 
necessity 



P-U7 
P-51 



Installation of rear view mirrors 



1941+ 



To give the pilot a safety feature 
which warned him of rearward attacks 
without distraction from the per- 
formance of his other duties 
incidental to combat flying 



Used with success 



8-B 



FIGHTER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of 
Aircraft 



Modification 



Date 
Accomplished 



Reason for Modification 



Remarks 



P-l+7 Anti-G suit for fighter pilots - a 

P-38 suit lined with a series of rubber 

P-51 bladders to control "blood circula- 

tion in the face of severe gravity- 
pull 



July - Pilots were greying-out or blacking- 

October l^kk out at high speeds in fast pull-outs 
after steep dives 



Made pilots more efficient "by in- 
stilling in them more confidence 
in fighter planes - prevented "black- 
outs in fast pull-outs 



SIGNALS & COMMUNICATION 

P-l+7 Rosebud "beacons installed in four 

P-51 aircraft of six different fighter 

groups for use as an airborne radar 
responder to Microwave Early Warn- 
ing control 



January To improve the range of fighter 

I9U5 operation and identification by 

Microwave Early Warning control 



Very successful for identification 
at extreme range. Helped to in- 
crease our fighter claims 



P-51 
P-i+7 
& 
Recon- 
naissance 
aircraft 



Tail-warning equipment installed 
in fighter and reconnaissance air- 
craft to warn of enemy' s rear 
attacks 



Pall 19^ 



To give warning of enemy 1 s rear 
attacks 



Installed in European Theater of 
Operations first; later put into 
production and used successfully 
by February I9U5 in all fighter 
aircraft 



P-l+7 



PERFORMANCE 

Introduction of water injection kits, 
consisting of a water tank, pump and 
tubing, to inject a water spray in 
the P-U7 engine (R-2S00) 



Late 19)43 To allow greater manifold pressure, 

and hence greater powers to be used 
for short periods (15-20 minutes) 
during combat 



The extra spurt of power accounted 
for many German airplanes and also 
saved many Eighth Air Force P-U78 



p-1+7 Introduction of a new fuel, which 

p-38 was obtained by the use of certain 

P-51 additives to 100/150 standard grade 

fuel 



Late 19U1+ To give our fighter aircraft the 

"edge 11 over the German Air Force 
grade 100/150 fuel 



The fuel was entirely successful 
in operation but increased mainten- 
ance due to a tendency to cause lead 
fouling of spark plugs 



P_l+7 150 pep fuel replaced 150 (MMA) fuel. 

P-51 The new fuel contained an additional 

^ theory of Ethylene Di-Bromide 



Early I9U5 To reduce the tendency of the 100/ 

150 grade fuel to foul spark plugs 



The new fuel was successful in that 
the tendency to reduce spark plug 
fouling was overcome, but it was 
discovered that the Ethylene Di- 
Bromide accelerated erosion of the 
valve seats of the Packard Merlin 
engine of the P-51 



9-B 



FIGHTER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of . 
Aircraft 



T-kj 
P-51 



Modification 



The Command reverted to the use 
150 (MMA) grade fuel 



Date 

Accomplished 



Reason for Modification 



Remarks 



Spring To prevent accelerated erosion of 

19*+5 valve seats in the Packard-Merlin 

engine of the P-51 



Experiments began in April I.9U5 on 
potential use of II5/1U5 grade fuel 



P-I4.7 



Introduction of various jettison- 
able fuel tanks 

a) 200 gallon, flat top, fibre 
belly with k point suspension 

b) Superceded by the 103 gallon 
■paper tank and modified rack, 
also suspended at U points 

c) The 10S gallon paper tank was 
hung on the B-J belly shackle 
on a 2 point suspension beam 

d) The standard United States 75 
gallon metal belly tank used 
on the B-7 shackle 

e) The 102 gallon metal tank, the 
150 gallon metal tank, and the 
210 gallon metal tank were also 
used, dependent upon the fuel 
capacity required 

f) The 108 gallon paper tank was 
used for the purpose of external 
wing tanks 



February I9U3- 
February 19I+5 



To increase the range of fighter 
aircraft 



These tanks were used pending the 
arrival of P-kfs from the United 
States equipped with the B-7 belly 
shackle 

When the new type P-Vfs were 
received 



The auxiliary fuel system was then 
universalized to use either the 75 
or 102 gallon tank on the T-kj 



P-32 The standard Lockhead 165 gallon 

belly tank was the equipment for 
P-38s in operations in this Theater 



P-51 The long range P-51, initially equipp- 

ed with a 75 gallon metal tank made 
its deput as an escort fighter, and 
eventually replaced both the P-U7 and 
P-51. Later it was equipped with 
either the 108 gallon metal or paper 
tank. Subseouently, this tank and 
its suspension were modified by using 



19^4 



IO-B 



FIGHTER MODIFICATIONS 



Type of , Date 

Aircraft Modification Accomplished Reason for Modification Remarks 

a two-point suspension channel per- 
mitting the same tank and suspension 
to be used on either the P-51 or 
P-U7. The 108 gallon tanks were 
later modified with front and rear 
outlets to make them useable on 
both the P-U7 and P-51 

P-51 The new type P-51b came equipped February 

with 2 x 115 gallon belly tanks, I9U5 

replacing 2 x 108 gallon tankB 



ll-B 



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D Dnited States. Army 
790 Air Forces. 8th ... 
u511 Eighth Air Force 
1945 tactical 
NASM development. 




3 ^Dflfl 0D312b31 5 

c . nasm D790.U511 1945 

Eighth Air Force tactical development, A 



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